Dental Idioms – Teeth, Gums and Tongues!

Idioms are a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words included in group.

We use them in everyday conversations whether we’re conscious of doing so or not!

Today on the blog, we’re taking a look at some idioms that are related to teeth and gums!

Here are some of our favourites:

“as scarce as hen’s teeth”

very scarce, non-existent, hard to find

Example: Reasonably priced flat rentals in London are as scarce as hen’s teeth

dental idioms, idiomatic, dental, teeth, just for fun, funny

“my back teeth are swimming’ 

Extreme need to urinate

Example: Does anyone know where the toilet it? My back teeth are swimming


“it’s like pulling teeth”

Something that is tricky yet time-consuming

Example: Getting the child to explain while she was crying was like pulling teeth.

dental idioms, idiomatic, dental, teeth, just for fun, funny

“eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”

believing that you should be able to punish someone in the same way that they hurt you

Example: The people of the town wanted an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth when they learned about who attacked the elderly woman.


“fight (someone or something) tooth and nail”

to fight against someone or something with great energy and courage

Example: Parents fought tooth and nail to convince the government to cancel plans to demolishing the local primary school

“lie through one’s teeth”

– to lie boldly

Example: His version of events was impossible to believe. He was lying through his teeth.

“to bite off more than you can chew”

to try to do more than you can realistically do

Example: The boy was looking to impress his boss, but it turned out he had bitten off more than he could chew


“long in the tooth”

to be getting old

Example: The lady was feeling long in the tooth and she had very little energy.

dental idioms, idiomatic, dental, teeth, just for fun, funny

“Champing at the Bit”

to be impatient and eager to go somewhere or do something

Example: The student was champing at the bit to find out whether he had passed his exams or not


How many of these did you recognise? We didn’t realise that there were just so many idioms in the English language that were related to teeth, tongue and gums!

The ones above are just a select few, but there are so so many more!

What dental/teeth/gum related idioms can you think of?


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1 Comment

  1. Fred on 23 January 2018 at 7:05 pm

    Champing your gums…means talking for the sake of hearing your own voice, or arguing over nothing, or getting upset about something or someone.

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