Kiss Teeth Explained
Have you ever heard someone say, “kiss my teeth”? No? Me either. Well not until recently anyways.
It was pointed out to me that in Nalo Hopkinson’s novel, Sister Mine, that he uses the phrase “kiss my teeth”.
As a dental hygienist I thought I knew almost all of the dental lingo. So when I heard the phrase “kiss teeth” or “suck teeth” and didn’t recognize it, I jumped straight into research.
Even more importantly, I didn’t realize it was such a common phrase. Apparently people use kmt as an acronym for kiss my teeth or kst for kiss teeth.
How did I not know this was such a thing?
What does the phrase “Kiss my teeth” mean?
So what does, kiss teeth, suck teeth or kissing my teeth actually mean?
Kiss teeth or suck teeth is the action of someone sucking on their teeth to make a sound. This sound and gesture signals disappointment in something. It sounds somewhat like a smacking sound. I now think of it as the “eye roll” for your mouth.
So for example: You’ve been waiting in line for 2 hours for a ride at a water-park and someone cuts in front of you. You “suck your teeth” to show and your disapproval. People can hear and see your expression and know you are not happy.
Sucking teeth is often considered rude and negative way of expressing ones disappointment.
Smacking your teeth
I consider this to pretty much be the same thing. Instead of smacking your lips, you are making the smacking sound with your teeth.
Video showing kiss teeth
Want to know what kissing your teeth or sucking your teeth actually looks and sounds like? Check out the sarcastic video showing the different variations and a few scenarios when suck teeth might be used
Where did the phrase originate?
According to a source, the phrase “kiss teeth” or KST is primarily seen as a Caribbean gesture. In my research, people in Nigeria often call is “hissing teeth” or hiss teeth.
Used in context
Apparently Nalo Hopkinson uses this phrase in several novels of his. Here is a excerpt from his novel Midnight Robber from a source.
They reached the fight yard to find Quashee standing in the machète circle already, looking stiff and serious in his leather armour gleaming with jumbie oil, and holding his helmet under his arm. Ione made to wave to him, but pulled her hand back before the gesture was finished. She sucked in her bottom lip and hurried with Tan-Tan to a seat. Some people glared at her, some smiled. An old, white-haired woman with a cane made the kiss-teeth sound of disgust and leaned over to whisper with her companions, another old woman and an old man.
It makes sense that Nalo Hopkison uses these phrases in her writing so often because she spent the first 16 years of her life in the Caribbean.
So there you have it. You now know what kissing your teeth means. Plus, you’ve also now been schooled in the internet’s acronym lingo, kst and kmt. So keyboard warriors have yet another internet slang phrase to use as a weapon.
For more teeth related articles check out more at Toothbrush Life.
Kelly Hancock, RDH
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.