The tooth hurts: British teeth no worse than American, says study

The study found that there was no difference in the number of cavities or gum disease between British and American adults.

The tooth hurts: British teeth no worse than American, says study

Story Highlights

The British have more missing teeth than Americans

The differences in funding between countries are significant.


According to 'Austin Powers,' only a British spy with jagged teeth that were the color of cheddar could be considered a sex sign.

A new study in the British Medical Journal has disproved the stereotype that Americans have for decades held about the English.

Researchers found that the British had better oral health than Americans in some cases, according to a study called 'Austin Powers bites back'.

The British Bad Teeth Myth

The Simpsons Ralph Wiggum becomes traumatized by a dentist who shows him "The Big Book of British Smiles," which features ever more bloodied and yellowed teeth. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, features the annoying English character Everett who is noted for his "rabbit teeth." Austin Powers: After being cryogenically froze, the British spy awakes with brand new teeth. He is told that there have been 'fabulous advances in dentistry'. South Park: The English army invading America by Britain is shown with yellow teeth that protrude.

According to researchers at Harvard University and University College London, the United States had a higher average of missing teeth, 7.31, whereas in the UK, the average was 6.97.

National dental teams examined tens of thousands of adults from both sides of The Pond. They looked at factors like pain, eating difficulties, and avoiding smiling.

Researchers took education and income into consideration, and found that the socioeconomic disparities in dental care were higher in the United States than in the UK.

The difference in funding for health care between countries was cited as the reason.

The National Health Service is the main provider of dentistry in Britain, but dental insurance is the most common form of coverage in the United States.

The authors of the study concluded that 'in conclusion, we have demonstrated that the oral hygiene of Americans is no better than English'.

There are also consistently greater educational and income-related disparities in oral health between the U.S. and England.

The study found that even though the British may not have as bad a mouth as the Americans, the English participants still felt the condition of their teeth had a greater impact on their everyday life.

The authors of the report said that the joke in the United States about the British having worse teeth than Americans goes back more than 100 years. The authors also pointed out modern examples, such as the episode of 'The Simpsons' that poked fun at "The Big Book of British Smiles" in an episode.

The Big Book of British Smiles