young boy with a noticeable tooth-gapped smile

My son's teeth are similar to the above picture. There are gaps between each pair of adjacent teeth.

Do we say "he has gaps between his teeth" or "he is gap-toothed" in everyday conversation?

  • 1
    You can use both, but gap-toothed can also describe a person who has a front tooth missing. Nov 16, 2020 at 9:32

1 Answer 1


gap-toothed is the correct informal term for this: the technical term for a gap between teeth is a diastema.

I was going to say that the condition is relatively uncommon in the UK, so it is not something that comes up in everyday conversation. As a child, I had too many teeth, and had to have eight extracted. I checked with NGram, and this NGram graph shows that the term gap-toothed has staged a rapid rise in usage since 1990.

  • You have to use "gap-toothed" carefully. At least in the US it is used as an insult (especially in the form "gap-toothed yokel"), implying that the person is from an impoverished and uneducated rural area where dental care is unavailable, resulting in missing teeth. Nov 16, 2020 at 17:54

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