What is a Cute Gummy Smile in K-Pop?

What is a Cute Gummy Smile in K-Pop?

What is a Cute Gummy Smile in K-Pop?

Gummy smiles are the trend in Korea. You see them everywhere on all of your favorite K- Pop stars in the group photos, and it’s not uncommon to see one or two G-Dragon gummy smiles in an episode of Running Man.

But what exactly is a gummy smile? How does one get their gummy smile? And why do Korean idols have so many more gummy smiles than Western celebrities? We’re here to give you the answers to these questions and more! Read on to learn more about this unique facial expression!

First impression

As fans of K-Pop, you may have noticed some stars’ especially large smiles. You may not know that it’s a special effect created by dentists called gummy smile surgery. It has been popular among celebrities and beauty-conscious Asians for years because it gives them larger smiles and seemingly more attractive teeth.

Though rarer stateside, gummy smile surgery has begun to take off stateside. Many celebrities opt for at least slight enhancements to make their teeth look whiter, straighter, and larger than they are naturally.

However, certain factors should be considered before getting gummy smile surgery. The most important factor is making sure your dentist does what’s best for your oral health first and foremost, so don’t rush into any decision without doing your research! However, once you do all of your homework, several different gummy smile surgeries are available, so no matter what type of enhancement you want or need, we can help! 

Vocal impression

Your sound is possibly your greatest valuable asset. That is generally true, at least in K-pop. Vocals are often used as a selling point for groups and individuals, despite dance and concepts being given much more weight by fans of particular idols.

Vocal impressions are one way to judge an idol group or individual member on their ability to sing well live and differentiate themselves from other singers. It’s just a part of how one can truly look at someone’s vocal skills before hearing them sing in person or on an official track.

Here are some of my favorite impressions I’ve heard over time:

Do Kyungsoo: He makes me think of a young Kim Bum Soo with his raspy tone and very expressive lower register. The way he sings love (사랑) almost always leaves me spellbound.

Krystal Jung: Krystal Jung has such a strong tone, and when she sings in her higher register, it sounds like she has something stuck in her throat! Despite having been criticized for her vocal performance many times, I feel like Krystal still shows immense potential as she continues to grow older with experience. There was also once when she got incredibly sick but still managed to perform at Red Velvet’s fan meetings… wow!

Dance impressions

Gummy used her trademarked gummy smile during her encore performance at SBS’ Inkigayo. It’s one of her best-known trademarks, but what exactly is it? The 22-year-old singer has denied rumors that she’s had facial surgery, telling Dispatch back in 2011, I am not getting plastic surgery done. I don’t particularly appreciate how people keep saying I got work done on my face.

My eyes are small because they are naturally small. When I was younger, my eyes were bigger, and now they have become smaller as I grew up. So how does she do it? According to some fans who have tried to mimic her signature expression: It’s when you pull your mouth into an oval shape and stick out your tongue to look like a gummy bear.

Gummy Smile

It’s not uncommon for a K-Pop star to have braces (after all, Korea is ranked one of the highest countries with people getting orthodontic work done). So if you’re swooning over how straight and white their teeth are, know that they could be wearing retainers. Many fans think when idols flash their pearly whites, it’s purely because they have amazing teeth. Still, even if an idol does have great natural smiles, some may have to wear retainers because of an overbite or gaps between teeth.

Wearing retainers can also help prevent tooth decay or loss of enamel. Like there are different types of braces, there are different types of retainers, too! Some can be worn only at night while others need to be worn full time. So next time you see your favorite K-Pop star flashing their pearly whites on Instagram, remember that it might just be a result of wearing those pesky little things called retainers!

A gummy smile refers to a person who has undergone orthodontic treatment resulting in prominent bands on either side of their mouth. However, many people undergoing such treatment do not opt for them due to aesthetic concerns. The term was popularized by Hwang Mi-Yeon, who went viral after photos emerged online showing her wearing clear retainers following her treatment.

Vocal, dance, and gummy comparisons

Our girl and Bae Ji-young have great smiles, but they have an important difference. Ji-young has an innocent, natural, cute smile. At the same time, Eunji can pull off that endearing gummy smile popular with many K-pop stars. What exactly is a gummy smile, you ask?

Generally speaking, it involves sticking your bottom lip out more than usual to create extra space between your teeth and lips. So watch that video of Ji-young again and see if you notice her slight gummy grin peeking through before she launches into her next dance moves. It’s a subtle change from her typical smile, but it makes her look even cuter. 


A cute gummy smile – popularized by South Korean pop stars like PSY and IU, who helped popularize it – has a unique aesthetic that causes fans to think about their favorite idols even when they’re not looking at them. In essence, it’s an exaggerated version of one’s actual smile that takes on many of its characteristics but appears larger and more toothy.

The concept was introduced as part of female idol culture, but it later gained popularity among men. While many fans have drawn inspiration from these stars to develop their styles, some have criticized certain male singers for using gummy smiles during a performance.