Do Americans have better teeth than the Brits?
So I should probably start this article by saying that I loved Mike Meyers spy spoof Austin Powers. I loved it all apart from one thing. The bad teeth joke. There seems to be a stereotype that British teeth are awful compared to Americans. I’ve even featured a picture of Austin Powers teeth crossed out because I don’t believe for one second that it’s true.
So imagine how delighted I was to discover that I am not the only one who disagrees. A team consisting of individuals from both American and Great Britain examined data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and British Adult Dental Health Survey. The results are fascinating. For example:
- Average missing teeth US 7.31 UK 6.97
- People in lower socioeconomic conditions in the States suffer from bad dental health compared to Britain. Say what you like about the NHS but it does make a massive difference!
- The most recent research for missing or decayed teeth in under twelves from 2008 put the UK joint first with 0.7 whilst America had 1.3 (based on a 2004 study). OECD
Natural looking vs blindingly bright teeth
Lance Knight, a dentist from Manchester, believes that what British people want is healthy clean natural looking teeth. In the UK people are more likely to go to the dentist for cleaning and a little straightening rather than teeth bleaching.
However, Americans want perfect shiny teeth that look exactly the same like the Kennedys or the Osmands. Although this look is popular with UK reality television celebrities and their fans they are in the minority.
Here is an interesting fact I discovered from a BBC programme shown in 2015 entitled “The Truth about Teeth.” Dentists use a special chart to measure the colour of teeth electronically. In America they have had to produce a new colour chart to take into account “American white teeth”. In comparison to American teeth, it does make British teeth look yellow but that is because American teeth are literally off the scale!
Teeth in the Media
Awareness of teeth has greatly increased in the UK as well with fashion magazines now talking about teeth whitening kits, toothpaste and brushes. Check out our best electric toothbrush 2016 guide to see what our website thinks matters. This may explain why spending on improving teeth has increased 27% since 2010. Total spend at the end of 2014 was £1.86bn. Yes that it nearly two billion pounds spent on teeth!
So in conclusion then, Brits do care about their teeth but we have a much different way of showing it. The start of each year tends to be a popular time for people to get healthy. Why not add looking after your teeth to your New Year’s resolutions. Happy New Year.
An interesting article on the possible origins of this cliché came from can be found here.
You can see the original report this article is based on here: Austin Powers bites back!