Oh, Britain — a land of elevated culture, decadent tradition, a regal monarchy … and bad teeth. Well, luckily for the British, the longstanding cliché that Brits have terrible teeth is coming under fire in a new study published in the December 16 issue of BMJ. According to the hilariously entitled Austin Powers Bites Back study, oral health is actually significantly worse in America than it is in Britain.
The study compared over 35,000 surveys from two large national data pools (the EADHS and the NHNES). According to co-author Richard Watt, head of dental public health and professor at University College of London in England, the “inequalities in oral health were much worse in the US compared to England.” For instance, Americans had significantly more missing teeth than their British counterparts in the 25- to 64-year-old category. Although Americans prevailed in some oral care categories (for example, in well-educated and wealthy citizens), the British were far superior overall.
The question as to why this is the case is still a mystery. Although some commentators speculate that it could be a result of access to affordable dental coverage, others suggest that Americans’ motivation behind dental visits have become more cosmetic than preventative.
Although it’s awesome that we’re breaking down stereotypes, this study is also an important reminder that going to the dentist is extremely important — especially since there are many health problems that can arise from a lack of oral hygiene. From gifting mini toothpastes as stocking stuffers to making taking care of your beautiful smile a New Year’s resolution — there’s tons of ways you can make 2016 a smile-worthy year for your pearly whites.
How are you tackling oral health in 2016? Tweet us at @BritandCo!
(Photos via Handout/Getty and Vince Bucci/Getty)