The Truth About David Bowie's Teeth

David Bowie is known as a shapeshifter, not just in the ever-changing style he wrote music all throughout his career spanning half a century, but also in his personal appearance, from his days as glam rock icon Ziggy Stardust to the regal period of the Thin White Duke. Stop to notice David Bowie's smile, however, and you'll find it wasn't just Bowie's clothing and hairstyle that changed over the course of his life. Something much more personal also changed in the singer's appearance: his teeth.

People didn't quite know what to make of David Bowie when he first came on the scene with his eponymous debut album, released in 1967, according to AllMusic. It seemed at that point as though the British musician's fledgling career might be stalled. With the release of the album "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" in 1972, however, and the creation of Bowie's alter-ego, also called Ziggy Stardust, the birth of a rock 'n' roll legend was born. With that came decades of success, fame, and money, and an opportunity for David Bowie to fix something about his appearance that had been with him since childhood: his smile.

He had them fixed

The truth about David Bowie's teeth is that they were quite clearly straightened, whitened, and otherwise fixed at several points throughout his career, according to a 2005 episode of the English TV series "Celebrity Surgery: Who's Had What Done" (posted on YouTube). Brits have a reputation for bad, toothy, and uneven smiles, although their overall dental hygiene is really about the same as any other Western country, according to the BBC. One possible explanation for bad British teeth, however, is that while many dental services are subsidized under the British National Health Service, cosmetic dental procedures are not.

Some of this may explain why in early photos of David Bowie his two front teeth look especially prominent and "fang-like," according to "Celebrity Surgery." This would typically be corrected with braces around the age 12. By the 1980s, Bowie's teeth appear to have whitened somewhat, but they were still misaligned, based on photographic evidence. At this point, photos of Bowie also revealed a receding gum line and possible tooth discoloration, possibly due to smoking. By the mid-'90s, though, Bowie's handsome smile was completely fixed, including any potential gum issues, discoloration, and that troublesome crookedness that had contributed to the singer's distinctive aesthetic early on in his career.