Most of the time, when the script for a movie or TV show takes a turn toward dental issues, it’s easy to understand The Cringe. The Cringe is a familiar posture for every dentist, dental hygienist, or other dental professionals. The script is about to deliver a bad, insulting joke about what a horrible experience it is to visit a dentist. If you are watching the show with someone, you’ll get the nudge, “Hey, they’re talking about you! Guess you’re not very popular, huh?”
But Hollywood’s visits to dental offices are not always bad. There have been some good lines written about oral health care. Here are our top 25 choices for the one-liner scripts that are kind to the ongoing battle against oral disease.
"Sure, Dad. If all your teeth fall out, you won't have anything to eat groceries with, anyways."
Leave it to Beaver (1960, TV series). One of early television’s reminders about oral health care.
"I have watched football with you; I have watched golf. I've been to dental conventions and sat through lectures titled "Gingivitis, the forgotten plague," and I have never complained. Do you know why?"
My Family (2000, TV series). The wife of a TV dentist (who was the lead character in this family drama) unleashes a few barbs about what she has to put up with in the marriage.
"No, wait a minute. Something is different here. Have you lost weight? No ... you've lost teeth! Bumpkin works for you."
Roseanne (1993, TV series). The queen of middle class housewives knew how to toss an insult, didn’t she?
"I need you to hold the tiger's jaw so I can get a dental impression."
CSI: NY (2005, TV series). The oral cavity is always a challenge, even for crime scene investigators.
"I know what you mean, I'm used to brushing my teeth after every meal ... you wouldn't happen to have a meal on you, would you?"
The Golden Girls (1988, TV series). The sitcom with four mature Miami women gave aging a humorous twist.
"Well, I would have taken better care of my teeth."
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986, film). A middle-age woman reflects on many things she would have done differently when she is transported back in time to her high school years.
"Hey, Frank ... you keep cleaning those teeth, the Germans are going to see you from a mile away."
Band of Brothers (2001, TV series). World War II drama made a counterpoint to tooth whitening.
"We're going to crash. We're going to die. They'll check out our dental records to identify our remains, and I haven't been to Dr. Overding for as much as a polish in over six months."
Cheers (1986, TV series). Diane worried too much, didn’t she? Dental records are kept for longer than six months — at least seven.
"Really, Mrs. Durant. Your teeth are more important than your hair."
Cactus Flower (1969, film). Goldie Hawn was the flaky mistress in this breakthrough role, but Ingrid Bergman was quite comical as the serious dental staff member.
"I wouldn't even date a dentist — hands in people's mouths all day — and after watching Eddie's complete physical, I'm not eager to date a vet anytime soon either."
Frazier (1997, TV series). OK, this is sort of an insult to dentistry. But you had to know the sitcom’s fussy lead character, who shared his apartment with his father and a dog named Eddie. It’s funny.
"Drink Slug-o-Cola, and keep your teeth that lovely shade of green."
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1998, TV series). Somewhere, a Trekkie has a dental hygienist for a mother.
"Honey, if he opens his mouth, I'll give you the length of his teeth."
Criminal Minds (2006, TV series). The FBI profilers are apparently pretty good and could find a job in dentistry.
"You know you're not supposed to brush your teeth for 24 hours before you go to the dentist."
Seinfeld (1990, TV series). More everyday advice from the classic sitcom about nothing.
"Andy, today it was brought to my attention that the downside to this business is death ... I'm thinking about enrolling in dental hygiene school so my children aren't orphans."
Weeds (2005, TV series). The hazards of dealing drugs lead to thoughts of dentistry as a career. Why not? Every government report says jobs in dentistry are growing like weeds.
"The red betanin from the beets stains the plaque deposits on your teeth, which are then swirled by your spinning toothbrush."
House, M.D. (2007, TV series). The crankiest physician of all time paints a pretty picture, eh?
"You think we watch any of your movies, Harry? I've seen better film on teeth."
Get Shorty (1995, film). Do you think the mobsters have any idea how much biofilm dental professionals watch?
"I'll never forget my first crush. She was a ravishing creature of eight, but it didn't work out. The first time I kissed her, we locked braces. Took the dentist two hours to pry us apart."
The Addams Family (1965, TV Series). Gomez knew how to embellish the details of romance, didn’t he?
"The important question is where do they get all the skeletons with perfect teeth?"
The Return of the Living Dead (1985, film). Most horror films refer to dental issues with words like “sharp teeth” or “fangs” “devouring flesh.” This one raised a good question.
"So, like, let's say that my teeth turn to liquid and then they drip down the back of my throat. What would you call that?"
The Office (2005, TV series). Contemporary sitcom on everything to loathe about the corporate environment sure asked some interesting questions.
"I promised him that if he didn't bite the dental hygienist this time, I'd take him for ice cream. I didn't have to take him for ice cream."
The Big Bang Theory (2012, TV series). Despite his fastidious habits, Sheldon is probably not his dental hygienist’s favorite patient. So a good appointment is a happy day.
"Root canal? That's not fair; they're not my teeth."
Freaky Friday (2003, film). There were a lot of problems with mothers and daughters trading bodies.
"Vitamin D, calcium, essential for good strong bones and healthy teeth. But that's all Greek to you, isn't it, Mr. Gingivitis?"
Dragnet (1987, film). Joe Friday could be one stern detective to the criminals, eh?
"My first escape. Landed on dentist tools. I was aiming for the toilet."
Finding Nemo (2003, film). Part of the animated fish’s journey involved escaping from a dentist’s aquarium.
"Holy molars! Am I ever glad I take good care of my teeth!"
Batman (1966, TV series). The caped crusaders were grateful for simple things too, and we’re betting some young baby boomers brushed their teeth without complaint that night.
"Momma always said dyin' was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn't. Little Forrest, he's doing just fine. About to start school again soon. I make his breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. I make sure he combs his hair and brushes his teeth every day."
Forrest Gump (1994, film). There was a whole lot of wisdom gained during Forrest’s life, so it was easy to overlook him assuring his late wife that their son’s teeth were being brushed.