There’s not just one ideal smile. In fact, there are many different characteristics that can make a smile attractive. And sometimes  feature that may look unattractive in one person’s smile may actually look very attractive in another smile.

This is true of a tooth gap. Technically called a diastema, many people are very unhappy if they have a gap in their smile and want to use orthodontics to treat it. However, other people enjoy the gap in their smile and find it makes them look very attractive. So what “separates” the attractive tooth gap smiles from those that should maybe have them closed? We looked at this list of 14 Celebs with Intoxicating Tooth Gaps to try to figure out what makes their gaps so gorgeous.

What Makes an Attractive Tooth Gap

Teeth Look Healthy

This is one of the most fundamental characteristics of a tooth gap that works. It has to be part of a healthy looking smile. In particular, the gap calls attention to the presence of gums at the front of the smile where the teeth are apart. This gum tissue can’t look swollen or reddened. It must look healthy.

The teeth have to be bright white, too, like the scintillating smile of Niecy Nash. This help makes the contrast between the teeth and the gap “pop,” creating an interesting visual feature. If the teeth are discolored or dingy, the mind conflates the dark tooth gap space with decay.

A Youthful Smile

Because most people have tooth gaps closed during adolescence, we tend to associate the presence of a tooth gap with childhood. In fact, this is a large part of its charm: its ability to convey a powerfully childlike earnestness. Consider, for example, the way that Elijah Wood always looks like a child–and not just when he’s playing a hobbit, either!

So what are the characteristics of a youthful smile? Partly, it’s the brightness of the teeth, but it’s also the way youthful teeth vary in length. You can easily see in Jessica Szohr’s smile the way her central incisors are longer than her lateral incisors, while her canines are intermediate between the two. For older people, all these teeth are worn down to the same length.

An OffBeat Character

You have to be prepared to be taken as somebody who is not conventionally beautiful, or maybe even conventionally anything. Having an open tooth gap makes you look unusual, which can either be a help or a harm. Certainly, Uzo Aduba’s tooth gap probably didn’t hurt her chances of landing the role of Suzanne (AKA Crazy Eyes) on Orange Is the New Black.

You Have to Own It

But perhaps the most important characteristic of an attractive tooth gap is that you have to feel confident in it. You have to love it yourself before anybody else will. If you are unhappy with or ashamed of your tooth gap, that lack of confidence will come through.

Michael Strahan is so proud of his tooth gap that he requested his Pro Football Hall of Fame bust be smiling. The majority of busts in the Hall show stern faces, but Strahan wanted to show off his gap. And that pride in his smile comes through every time he’s in public, and it fueled his smooth transition from football player to talk show host.

Are You Unhappy with Your Tooth Gap?

So how do you feel about the gap in your teeth? If you’re happy with it, you should keep it. But if it bothers you or if it causes you problems with speaking, eating, or other mouth functions, it’s probably time to get it closed. Fortunately, it’s easy to get your gap closed with Invisalign, porcelain veneers, or other approaches.

To learn how we can help your tooth gap look more attractive or close the gap, please call (914) 526-2144 today for an appointment with a Westchester County cosmetic dentist at Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake.