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Two-word answers

Q:

Do the British really have worse teeth than Americans?

A:

Not really.

From casual jokes to media portrayals, the myth that the British have worse teeth than Americans has played out over and over. But findings detailed by the British Dental Association suggest that this myth doesn’t hold up against reality. In fact, the results showed people in Britain may actually have better oral health.1

Americans

• 40% avoid sugar

• 51% brush for two minutes twice a day

• 7.31 missing teeth

British

• 53% avoid sugar

• 64% brush for two minutes twice a day

• 6.97 missing teeth

Teeth differences might exist between the two countries, but they probably have more to do with cosmetic preferences than oral health. Corrective measures like orthodontics and teeth whitening have long been popular in the U.S. but may not be as widespread in the U.K. These differences have been dramatized in the media. British characters are sometimes depicted with faded smiles and chipped teeth, while American actors typically maintain straight, sparkling teeth on screen.

No matter where you live, it’s important to practice good oral health habits like brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing once a day and visiting your dentist regularly.

1British Dental Association, British Teeth vs. the Hollywood Smile, 2017, https://bda.org/news-centre/blog/Pages/British-Teeth-vs-the-Hollywood-Smile.aspx

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