Nav: Home

Study finds Americans do not have better teeth than the English

December 16, 2015

Contrary to popular belief, the oral health of US citizens is not better than the English, finds a study in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

In addition, the research suggests there are consistently wider educational and income inequalities in oral health in the US compared with England.

There is a popular belief in the US, dating back over a century, that the English have terrible teeth, much worse than Americans. Contemporary examples of this belief in popular US culture range from The Simpsons to the Hollywood character Austin Powers and his repugnant smile.

However, no study had directly compared levels of oral health and oral health inequalities between England and the US.

So a research team based in the UK and the US assessed oral health measures and socioeconomic indicators using data from the English Adult Dental Health Survey (ADHS), and the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Adults aged 25 years and older were included with samples of 8,719 (England) and 9,786 (US) for analyses by education, and 7,184 (England) and 9,094 (US) for analyses by income.

Main outcomes were number of missing teeth, adults perceptions of their oral health (self-rated oral health), and oral impacts on daily life such as pain, difficulty eating, avoiding smiling and social effects. Education level and household income were used as socioeconomic indicators.

The study showed that the mean number of missing teeth was significantly higher in the US (7.31) than in England (6.97), while reporting of oral impacts on daily life was higher in England.

Moreover, there was strong evidence of significant socioeconomic inequalities in oral health in both countries, but these inequalities were consistently higher in the US than in England for all the measures assessed.

The authors point out that social inequalities in the US are greater than in England. There are also different levels of access and treatment services between the health systems may have contributed to these findings. Another possible reason could be the role of oral health risk factors, such as sugar consumption and smoking, they explain. Finally, they suggest that differences in welfare policies may help to understand these oral health inequalities.

"In conclusion we have shown that the oral health of Americans is not better than the English, and there are consistently wider educational and income related oral health inequalities in the US compared with England," they write.

BMJ

Related Oral Health Articles:

Poor oral health and food scarcity major contributors to malnutrition in older adults
A new study by UNC School of Medicine researchers suggests that food scarcity and poor oral health are major risk factors for malnutrition that leads an older adult -- already at high risk of functional decline, decreased quality of life, and increased mortality -- to land in the emergency department.
Tailored preventive oral health intervention improves dental health among elderly
A tailored preventive oral health intervention significantly improved the cleanliness of teeth and dentures among elderly home care clients.
Mapping a path to better oral health
Dentists aren't the only people who influence how we take care of our teeth; our friends and family play a big role, too.
Columbia's Dental College and University of Puerto Rico form oral health partnership
The partnership aims to advance oral health through community-based research, education, and patient care.
Children's oral health disparities persist despite equal dental care access
Children who get dental care through Medicaid have poorer oral health than privately insured kids who have the same amount of dental care.
LSU Health dentistry grant to help improve oral cancer survival
Dr. Kitrina Cordell, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences at LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry, has been awarded a grant by the Academy of General Dentistry to develop a school-wide program to teach patients about self oral cancer screening.
New oral diabetes drugs may also protect patients' kidney health
In a clinical trial of patients with type 2 diabetes, canagliflozin (a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor) slowed kidney function decline to a greater extent than glimepiride (a sulfonylurea), while having similar blood sugar-lowering effects.
Study: Recording selfies while brushing teeth can improve oral health care skills
Recording smart phone video 'selfies' of tooth-brushing can help people learn to improve their oral health care techniques, according to a new study.
Is there a link between oral health and the rate of cognitive decline?
The findings, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, come from the first systematic review of studies focused on oral health and cognition -- two important areas of research as the older adult population continues to grow, with some 36 percent of people over age 70 already living with cognitive impairments.
Child and adolescent perceptions of oral health: Life course perspectives
Today at the 45th Annual Meeting & Exhibition of the American Association for Dental Research, researcher Carl Maida, University of California, Los Angeles, USA, will present a study titled 'Child and Adolescent Perceptions of Oral Health: Life Course Perspectives.'

Related Oral Health Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...