While some stereotypes may have more than a mere foothold in reality, the vast majority are preconceived and often offensive misconceptions. The notion of British citizens having bad teeth definitely falls into the latter category, as it is an outdated and generic assertion that has no tangible basis in fact whatsoever. This issue came to the public attention recently, when an image of royal bride Kate Middleton was photo shopped with bad teeth and published as a visual metaphor for the declining state of the British economy. While certainly in bad taste, it has forced many to question the origins of this stereotype and why it remains popular in American culture?
The Stereotype: Its Origins and Development
It is generally considered that this stereotype originated during the Second World War, when U.S. soldiers arrived in Britain to join in the conflict. At that time, U.S. dental procedures were far in advance of those employed in the UK, while British citizens were still counting the economic cost of the previous global conflict. The situation hardly improved in the decade following the Second World War, as the UK economy was hit even harder and the country suffered in the absence of serious social, technological and scientific advances.
This created the perception among U.S. citizens that poor oral health was commonplace in the UK, and this is something that has been shared between generations ever since. Even as dental techniques and practices have evolved significantly in the UK in recent times, the continual privatization of dentistry and a poor attitude to oral health has seen the country remain behind the U.S. in terms of awareness and willingness to commit to regular checkups. So while the many refinements in general and cosmetic dentistry have been embraced by American patients, their British contemporaries have remained more reluctant to invest in such services.
The Bottom Line: The Truth About Oral Health in the UK
The photo shopped depiction of Kate Middleton with bad teeth was an image created in genuinely poor taste, and reflected a stereotype that was founded several generations ago. Despite this, however, the image did reveal that the stereotype remains relatively well received in U.S. popular culture, thanks largely to the difference in attitude that still exists between the two countries when it comes to maintaining a purposeful oral health routine. The fact remains that U.S. citizens are far more likely to invest money in protecting their teeth and cultivating the perfect smile, whereas British residents are more cautious when it comes to investing in their overall exterior appearance. If you are interested in a perfect smile, please contact Dr. Dan Matthews today for a complimentary consultation.