Americans and others throughout the world have often poked fun at a perceived British trait— crooked, protruding, or discoloured teeth. The idea of the British and their prominent or crooked teeth shows up in a variety of movies, from Austin Powers to the more recent Minions movie from Universal Pictures, in which the queen and others are depicted with buck teeth. Is there any truth to the idea that England’s citizens have teeth that are worse than usual? Discover what’s really behind the myth.

Orthodontics Through the Ages

During the Middle Ages and for a couple of centuries beyond that, dental hygiene simply wasn’t a priority. No one understood the importance of oral health, and people were too busy trying to survive and make a living to worry about cleaning and maintaining their teeth. A few records exist of the Romans and Greeks pondering methods for straightening teeth, but real orthodontics didn’t take hold until the 1700s. Even then, in Britain and elsewhere, the concept of straightening teeth did not really appeal to most people.

The Rise of Hollywood and Its Smiles

With the advent of the television and movies, a person’s appearance started to become increasingly important. People in the United States especially wanted to look beautiful, with stunning smiles like those of the movie stars in Hollywood. Thus began the American fascination with perfecting their teeth.

An Emphasis on Hygiene, Not Beauty

For decades, the British people did not place a priority on the appearance of their teeth, in spite of the developing orthodontic technology. Instead of focusing on bright, white, dazzling smiles, the British focused on oral hygiene and minor improvements.

Back in the 1990s, the British percentages of tooth decay and tooth replacement were significantly worse than those in the United States. Today, those rates have significantly improved, to the point where the UK is surpassing the US in matters of oral health and cleanliness.

The Statistics of Smiles

The statistics do support a significant difference between Americans and people in the UK. Around 14 percent of Americans have had teeth whitening done, whereas only 3 percent of British citizens have whitened their teeth.

One Manchester dentist, Lance Knight, claims that his patients are not immune to the desire for straight, clean teeth. However, they don’t have the same craving for rows of brilliant white teeth that Americans seem to have. Instead, they want a “natural look.” Knight says that around 90 percent of his clients do want “an improved smile,” with only 10 percent or so working towards a glamorous movie-star smile.

Your Dental Clinic in Singapore

Whether you focus on hygiene like the British or love a brilliant grin like the Americans, Orchard Scotts Dental is the place to go when it comes to dentistry in Singapore. With treatments like teeth whitening, Invisalign, porcelain veneers, and dental implants, we can help you design and achieve the smile that you’ve always wanted. Contact us today to get started!

Source: BBC, 27 May 2015