There has been a prevailing and entirely unfair stereotype that British people have awful teeth. This stereotype has been furthered perpetrated in American TV and film. Clearly, this does not hold water, after all Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge has a brilliant smile. Unfortunately for the good old USA, the tables may have turned. A new study released by The British Medical Journal indicates that the British may not have such bad teeth after all.
The Red, Not-So-White, and Blue
According to the study American adults average 7.31 missing teeth, compared to 6.97 among British adults. The gap is not that large, but big enough to notice. With that being said, there are a few variables that remain unaccounted for in the study. For example, according to the New York Times, “[the study] mainly focused on one clinical measure of dental health: the number of missing teeth, which researchers say could be explained, in part, by different approaches to wisdom teeth extraction. The study did not take orthodontics or aesthetic dentistry into account, and researchers pointed out that self-reported patient information is often subjective.” Furthermore, the study actually brings about an entirely different issue to light: private health insurance. Wealthy Americans, who can afford dental insurance, average a larger number of healthier teeth than their British counterparts, while poor Americans average fewer and unhealthier teeth. This may explain why so many younger people are now seeking dentures. Compared to dental implants, dentures are a cheaper alternative, but may cause more issues in the long run such as bone deterioration along the jaw.
Prevention is Key
Prevention is the best method of protection against losing your teeth. In reality, this goes far beyond simple aesthetics. Tooth decay and periodontal disease, two major causes of tooth loss in adults can be deadly if ignored. At home, in addition to watching what you eat, your dental routine should be threefold. First, you should be brushing at least twice per day with fluoridated tooth paste using a soft bristled brush. Secondly, you should also be flossing at lease twice per day after brushing in order to remove food debris from the hard to reach gaps between your teeth. Finally you should rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouth wash.
Staying away from the dentist due to financial reasons will not do you any favors. A routine checkup and cleaning is going to cost you far less in the long run than something like dental implants. It is important to use a proven dentist that you trust. Austin’s own Dr. Dan Matthews is well educated and proven in the field of dentistry, and will help you maintain a smile that you can be proud of. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call Dan Matthews, DDS, at 512-452-2273.