I have a recurring nightmare that my teeth are falling out. They’re loose, flopping in their gums, and I’m trying to hold them in but can’t. It’s such a vivid dream that I can even recall the taste of blood mixed with saliva. According to dream dictionaries, this isn’t an indication that I have gingivitis so much as anxiety, or the fear of losing control. “It could mean that the dreamer’s ability to assess emotional experiences was being interfered with,” Richard Nicoletti, a Jungian psychotherapist told the Huffington Post.
It’s not just bad dreams that suggest teeth are a little creepy. American Horror Story’s season six featured a rain of teeth, like a summoned plague. Google “The Tooth Child” if you want to feel a shiver run down your back. Even the glossiest set of molars conjures up images of blood, sharp poky metal objects, and drills and wires trying to forcibly bend them into submission. It’s no wonder no one likes teeth or the people whose job it is to deal with them every day, dentists.
Tapping into the dark side of dentistry is Serge Luten’s Dent de Lait, a perfume meant to smell like teeth. “Solitude is hard teeth,” the perfumer says. Translated directly, the name means milk of teeth or baby tooth. Another perfume that smells nothing like sex, the fragrance attempts to recapture the scent of a child losing its first tooth. In the video accompanying the ad, the tooth is yanked from a child’s mouth via a string like in some creepy, macabre game.
Perfumer and makeup artist Serge Lutens takes a figurative, rather than literal, approach to the scent (they’re not creating a scent that resembles what Kim Kardashian says she smells when she smells cavities). It smells a little like a warm, powdery, milky hard candy you might have received as a child from a grandma or great-aunt. Oh, this is sweet and kind of nostalgic, you think. And then at the very tail end of the fragrance, you get a metallic tinge, not unlike the sharpness you might feel in your mouth if the dental hygienist poked too intensely at a tender spot. The notes say that its note include aldehydes, almond milk, and incense.
With a scent like blood, teeth, and candy, it’s unlikely that Dent de Lait will become many people’s signature scent, not even for the Tooth Fairy. Unlike other baby-related perfumes, you probably won’t want to spray it everywhere. It’s too bittersweet a fragrance, and too uncomfortable, as it makes you to recall one of the first times you tasted blood. But given scent’s ties to memory, the fragrance may create a Proustian madeleine moment and force you to address your own nightmares about incisors.