Teeth & Tattoos

Investigation into the Numbers of Teeth and Tattoos Amongst Members of Three Prominent Motorcycle Gangs


There has long been grave concern (Hook, Claw, Tort, and Fienbaum, 1955) over whether or not there is any relationship between the numbers of teeth and numbers of tattoos members of motorcylce gangs possess. There has been an insufficiency of available information on abundance of teeth to tattoos. Although not weighted with regard age, race, or the type of "hog" (Davidson, 1988) the participants ride, there is clearly an inverse relationship of teeth (Gould, 1985) to tattoos.

Methodology and Materials

Several Dental Colleges were contacted for patient's records in this regard but were unable to provide any information owing to the complete lack of oral hygiene of persons in the subject demographic. Investigations by two field observers were undertaken in public social clubs frequented by the subjects. Five members of each gang were polled. While female gang members were enthusiastic volunteers (Malmgren, 1981) for the study, only male participants wearing "the colors" of their respective gangs were polled. Pictorial tattoos which bore a legend were counted as one tattoo; e.g., a picture tattoo of a small devil with the words "Born to Raise Hell" or a picture of a skull with the words "Born to Lose" or a picture of a woman with the words "My Bitch" were all counted as one tattoo. However, when a tattoo of a propeller appeared on each buttock, denoting "twin screws", as in a twin-motored vessel, these were counted as separate tattoos. When tattoos bearing the legend "Hot" appeared above the nipple on one side of the chest, with "Cold" appearing on the other, they too were counted as separate tattoos, (as were the variations on the theme; e.g., the couplets "Sweet" and "Sour", "Chocolate" and "White", "Homogenized" and "Pasteurized", (Pasteur, 1876) and so forth). Participants in the poll were furnished with one pitcher of beer (Busch and Budweiser, 1996) and then their tattoos and teeth were tallied. All dentures, if any, were removed. Fragments of teeth, no matter how heavily decayed, were counted as a full tooth.


Graphical results of the data is presented in Table 1. Preliminary results indicate a strong correlation between numbers of tattoos to lack of teeth. Statistical analysis (Mandelbaum, 1970) was not used in this preliminary study owing to an insufficiency of precise measurement of the raw population differences. Regional differences as well as ethnic backgrounds, age, density, distribution, vital statistics, and so forth were not considered.

Table 1.


The raw data found none of the gang members had a full set of teeth. Most subjects were missing their central maxillary incisors (8, 9) 1 (their front teeth) which indicates that at some point in their careers as motorcycle enthusiasts, members were talking when they should have been listening. A goodly proportion of the others were also missing their lateral maxillary incisors (7, 10) indicating a continued lack of lessons learned with the loss of their central incisors. Most gang members were missing their third upper and lower molars (1, 16, 17, 32), commonly know as the "wisdom teeth". The collary here is not well understood. Tooth loss to numbers of tattoos is nearly linear amongst members of the Los Banditos motorcycle gang. While members of the Los Banditos have more teeth at the outset, they end with more tattoos than the other gang participants in this study.


Uncorrected for population (discussed above), the data shows a clear, inverse relationship between the numbers of teeth and numbers of tattoos. A grant from the National Science Foundation is being sought to continue this study.

1. Armed Forces System of Clasification.


Busch, A. and H. Budweiser; trans. A. Hilter.     Kidney and Fluid Balance.  New York: Waterhouse, 1996.

Davidson, H. ed.     Rice Burning Motor Bicycles for Wimps.   New Jersey: Eagle, 1988.

Gould, S.J.     The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History.   New York: Morton, 1985.

Hook, Claw, Tort and Fienbaum, in
Hell's Angels MC v. Co. of Los Angeles, CA,
C.A.Cal. 1987, 285 F.2d 848, certiorari denied
S.Ct. 1788, 354 U.S. 911, 6 L/Ed.2d 956.

Malmgren, C.A.     Spread `em: a social history of gang Mamas.   Los Angeles: Fruit & Nut Press, 1981.

Mandelbaum, P.     One, Two, Three, a Bunch.   London: LSE Press, 1970.

Pasteur, L.     Etudes sur la bière.   Paris: Chanel, 1876.

Last modified: APR 30, 1996

Created by & exclusively used with permission by Paul Breslin

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