White Teeth BY Smith, Zadie

The word appears 1 times.

As might be expected, the subject of teeth comes up several times in this novel.  One of the main characters has no upper teeth, having lost them in an accident.

Later in the novel, three children go to visit an elderly man as part of a school activity designed to teach charity.  They are reluctant, but eventually end up in the man's house sharing tea with him.  They notice that he has no teeth, at which point he admonishes them to take care of the teeth they have, because they will need them.  But then he reminisces about his days in the war, and how "white teeth" didn't help his enemy much. 

"But like all things, the business has two sides.  Clean white teeth are not always wise, now are they?  Par Exemplum: when I was in the Congo, the only way I could identify the nigger was by the whiteness of his teeth, if you see what I mean.  Horrid business.  Dark as buggery, it was.  And they died because of it, you see?  Poor bastards.  Or rather I survived, to look at is in another way, do you see?"