Grillz: A Combination of Dentistry, Jewelry, and History

A look into the weirdest fashion trend we’ve ever seen.

trusted family dentist st. george utah

Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Ryan Lochte showed off his American flag grill in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

As a dentist in St. George, Utah, it’s always fun to see the trends and fashion styles that somehow make it big. Most people don’t think of teeth as a place for jewelry, so one of the most bizarre fashion styles of the century was when grills found a place in hip hop culture.

The history of grills goes back a lot further than you think it would. In the ancient Mayan culture, the rich would drill pieces of jade into their teeth.

Fast-forward to the 1980’s, which was when hip hop artists starting wearing grills. There are different theories as to where the trend really started. Most people credit New Yorker Eddie Plein, owner of Eddie’s Gold Teeth, for really starting the trend. He reportedly got Flava Flav a set of gold caps, and then fitted Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap. After moving to Atlanta, he designed grills for OutKast, Goodie Mob, Ludacris, and Lil’ Jon.

The trend really only stuck in the south. Dirty South rappers kicked off a nationwide trend in the 2000s. In 2006, they were worn primarily by 18- to 35-year-old African American males who listened to hip hop. Grills eventually expanded to non-hip-hop listeners that mostly consisted of hard rock (as seen on celebrities Marilyn Manson, Travis Barker, and Avenged Sevenfold members). In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte showed off a grill with stones in the shape and colors of the American flag.

Interesting, right? Well as your trusted family dentist in St. George, Utah, we recommend just going with the normal teeth whitening. We like your normal smile the best!

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