In a recent interview, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan revealed that teeth were the source of his one regret in the show. No, not the dental shortcut his writers took, it was even more serious than that. Jesse Pinkman, one of the two leads on the show and a sometime meth smoker, should have had bad teeth, according to Gilligan.

Meth Mouth: the Effects of Methamphetamine on Teeth

“Meth mouth” is one of the effects of crystal meth that has been highly promoted as part of the anti-meth campaign. Meth mouth is when users suffer serious tooth decay that often leads to tooth loss. The effect is very serious, and even short-term or casual users may end up losing their teeth and needing to wear dentures for the rest of their lives (often they are not good candidates for dental implants). We don’t fully understand the cause of meth mouth. Although originally it was thought that the smoke itself was corrosive (the explanation Gilligan cites), but it seems more likely now that a combination of factors may be responsible. Meth reduces the activity of your salivary glands. Without saliva, bacteria grow more quickly and their acid is more potent on the teeth. When high, people crave sweets and are often chronic consumers of sugary soda. They are also less likely to brush their teeth. The combination of these factors can completely destroy a person’s entire set of teeth in less than a year.

The Challenge of a Sympathetic Character with Meth Mouth

Although Gilligan’s complaint about the perfection of actor Aaron Paul’s teeth make sense from a realism point of view, the change wouldn’t necessarily have been better for the show. Your teeth are such an important part of your appearance and your identity that it’s hard to be sympathetic with someone who has a bad smile. Although it’s sometimes okay to have a villain with bad teeth, as on Orange Is the New Black, it’s much harder to create a sympathetic character with a cringe-worthy smile. And since the character of Jesse is probably the most sympathetic one in the series, it may have made it a much harder sell, especially in the early episodes before people have much history with the character. Sometimes, it’s necessary to sacrifice realism for art, though this may lead to creators’ regrets. If you want to make sure you have a sympathetic smile, please contact Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics in Spokane or Spokane Valley today.