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Tennis5tar's avatar

Why do Americans seem to think people from Britain have bad teeth?

Asked by Tennis5tar (1255points) August 2nd, 2007

Did this stem from Austin Powers? I'm getting a little tired of being stereotyped when I can see no obvious difference between the two nations.

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10 Answers

extolsmith's avatar

America has private healthcare, including orthodontists. United Kingdom has public healthcare. Public healthcare infers long waits, poor standards, and limited options in remedies.

I have straight, off-white teeth because I had braces. My grandmother, born and raised in London, as crooked, gaping, yellow teeth.

I and may Brits do not white teeth do to the volume of tea consumed.

glial's avatar

I would guess it is the Austin Power's thing. I wouldn't take it personally. Since I am from Louisiana, I am about to go ride my alligator and yes I sound just like that guy from the Water Boy when I talk.

erinford's avatar

I think it stems from two things: first the length of time it took the UK to recover from WWII - rationing existed into the 1950s - so dental work and othodontics was relatively late in coming to the UK. Second, the endemic distrust in the US of anything that smacks of socialism i.e. the National Health Service. Only tip you've lived under both systems can you fully appreciate the differences and benefits. BTW I agree - US teeth are, on average, no better than UK teeth these days.

joli's avatar

UK's DO have the worst teeth ever! The Dentistry practiced there has been archaic the entire past century. The practices they follow chase patients away. Having Dentistry done up to the year 2000 was so awfully painful people didn't go until they had a horrible toothache which exasperates the delimma. In addition to being afraid of the Dentist, who gets paid a yearly salary no matter what procedures he performs, English people eat tons of sugary carbs. I cleaned my English friend's teeth one day while he was here vacationing and he said in 30 years he's never had that done. English people have the worst teeth straight up with 3rd world countries. Show me an x-ray of a filling done in England and I will recognize the sloppy handwork in a second.

ErikaM's avatar

Yes, it's true that this is a popular stereotype in the US. But with Brits teeth getting better over time this stereotype will likely go away in the future.

mistermister's avatar

i have to disagree with joli's accusation of sloppy work in the UK's dentistry profession. I lived there for three years and never had a problem. When you go to the dentist in the UK, you can often choose to go "private" or NHS...often meaning you can choose what kind of service you want (i.e. if you need a new tooth, you can get a porcelain one cut by a laser based on a fancy mold of your mouth, or you can get a normal metal tooth..the kind the vast majority of the world outside of North America, still uses). Alot of people are committed to the principles of nationalized health care and choose the cheaper service or that reason.
Its not that the service is sloppy, its that its impossible to register with a dentist these days in the UK, especially in London, because very few of them are accepting new patients.

Tennis5tar's avatar

@ joli: Are you basing your opinion on your one friend's teeth? Also, are you implying that all English people and no Americans are afraid of the dentist? Actually, I disagree with the entirety of your post. But that's your opinion and you are perfectly entitled to it. Maybe you should visit the UK some time though.

The times... they have-a-changed!

breedmitch's avatar

This is going to sound bad, but... I always assumed the Brits had bad teeth from centuries of inbreeding before they really had an open immigration policy. Ya know, closed gene pool and such. is that bad?

Tennis5tar's avatar

@ breedmitch: Yeah, that is bad. Quite closed-minded. Your argument may have had an inkling of truth (I don't know, my knowledge of inbreeding is not extensive) had it been about dentistry in the fifteenth century, but Britain is very culturaly diverse these days, and I find it hard to believe that Brits outside of Royalty would resourt to inbreeding in the past. As a country, we've had many different groups of settlers land here and stay over years, again, that's more diversity.

seazen_'s avatar

Because they do?

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