The trend is driven partly by a pop group and, according to this explanation, wanting to enhance sexual attractiveness in the context of economic uncertainty:
“The ‘girl next door’ look of accessibility and plainness is especially popular in Japan right now partly, I think, because Japanese men feel so weak in the face of a stagnant economy and fast-shifting gender roles,” Kelts told Yahoo! Shine. “Marriage and birth rates in Japan are at historic lows. A too-perfect set of teeth, or anything else, can be intimidating when your role in society is imperiled.”
Which reminds me of Henry VIII’s time when sugar first became widely available: “Those who could afford it used it on just about everything, and too much sugar causes one’s teeth to become black. But sugar was still expensive, so having black teeth came to be a symbol of wealth. Soon many of the English, women especially, were deliberately blackening their teeth as a fashion and status symbol.”
Interesting that both explain sexual attractiveness through economic filters. Want to appear wealthier? Modify your teeth! Want to appear less wealthy? Modify your teeth!
(Makes me wonder: Does the sex-and-economics explanation work for the vampire teeth craze?)
Source: “Japanese Snaggletooth Craze Spawns Dental Procedures, Girl Group.” (Thanks to L.P. for the link.)
Related: Fashion: white teeth — or black?