A staple of American humor about the UK is the population's bad teeth. For example, Lisa Simpson was shown "The Big Book of British Teeth" by her orthodontist. Is there actual evidence that British teeth are worse than anyone else's?
David Dreaming Bear, Horsethief Canyon, California USA
- I don't know the basis for it but it is definitely a stereotype the Americans have about us. I was talking to an american woman recently, and in the middle of the conversation she broke off to exclaim at what "remarkably white teeth" I had.
Peter, London England
- Surely this stereotype has arisen out of the American preoccupation of spending large amounts of money on having their teeth done, a pastime which, like cosmetic surgery, the British find too vain to become involved in.
Clive, Sydney Australia
- It's actually Canadian humor. Mike Myers (Canadian) gets the credit for this from "Austin Powers". Americans are quiet on the subject of teeth since our first president didn't have any (except made of ivory and held together by frightful metal springs).
Dan Morgan, Boston US
- I understand that before the second world war the Americans' dental health was apalling. Visiting servicemen spread the use of toothbrushes when they went 'back home'.
Jonathan, Lancaster UK
- It was actually 'The British Book of Smiles'. Americans spend loads dewonkifying their teenagers' teeth so they just look better. British children's teeth are much better today than when I was young, despite all those American soft drinks.
Tomas Santos, Hove UK
- Until the NHS started up, and before the availability of fluoride in toothpaste (or water), our British teeth were spectacularly ugly. Look at any film footage of average Britons before about 1945, and weep. The standard of living of the contemporary American probably afforded them better dental care; and, I suspect, a certain cultural austerity would have meant that corrective procedures such as braces would be regarded by us Brits as extravagance and vanity.
Simon Gilman, London UK
- I think Simon Gilman has put it best. Having spent my first 20 years in America and 14 years since living in the UK, I find that the average Brit is satisfied with teeth that might be crooked, stained, even slightly rotten, if they aren't causing much discomfort to their owner. Average Americans have much higher standards of expectation in the state of their dental health -- regardless of whether they have to pay for dental treatment or not, they feel very strongly that good teeth are a wise investment in looks and health. Many visits to the dentist by average Brits happen only after something has gone horribly wrong with their teeth, whilst Americans take an actively preventative approach with semi-annual dental checkups and intervention before any problems become severe. As a result of the greater amount of attention that Americans pay to their teeth, they are far more likely to notice and comment on the state of other people's teeth.
Wendy James, London UK
- im a dental hygienist in ny. the people I see here are just as ignorant about oral hygiene as anywhere else. many people interested in whitening have periodontal disease, their teeth are actually loose but rather than pay to see a periodontist to save them they would like them bleached because that seven hundered dollars is easier to come up with than the money to actually save the teeth. alot of people want their teeth pulled and nice white dentures put in instead. how about some preventitive measures like regular check ups or floss it costs a dollar. even if you dont have insurance chekups at the most are way way less than the average price of sneakers most people have a low dental IQ no matter what country.we need to change this.tooth loss is not necessary even if you're 80. floss!!!
heather, new york usa
- I have to say, as a tourist here in London for the millionth time, I am always astounded by the bad teeth here which I believe is caused mostly by smoking. I think it's cool to have iregular shaped teeth, but staining and rot...these are syptoms of bad hygeine, not vanity and not genetics. Apart from being the most disgusting habit in the world, smoking really makes teeth look gross. When I am attracted to someone, I imagine kissing them. If I can't get past that initial imagining (ie. if the person opens their mouth and has terrible teeth) it's NEVER going to happen. Instead of being obsessed with highlights, tans and boob jobs, why not invest a few bob in a trip to the dentist, a bleaching tray and some dental floss? The world would be a better place!
Gary, San Francisco USA
Add your answer
- As a Briton living in the US for the past four years, I can honestly say that British people do have worse teeth. I came to US considering myself lucky to have a good set of teeth; however, over time I realized that my teeth were far from perfect. And all it would have taken was braces for a year or so. Americans do have far straighter and whiter teeth than English people. On a trip back to England I asked my dentist about British teeth, he said even when he offered corrective braces, crowns, bridges for free, people were not interested. I think British people are starting to care, but have a lot of catching up to do.
P. Doodes, Chicago, USA