It may seem hard to believe, with recent news stories about us Brits being too ashamed of our teeth to smile in photos – not to mention the longstanding belief that Americans, with their beautiful sets of pearly whites, are horrified by our stained, wonky gnashers – but a new cross-pacific study has shown that people Stateside actually have significantly worse teeth than we do.

What did the study show?

The study, which was conducted by teams from University College London, the National University of Colombia and the Harvard School of Public Health, looked at data from thousands of men and women aged 25 and over, in both the UK and the US.

The findings showed that the mean number of missing teeth was significantly higher in the States (7.31 teeth missing) than in the UK (6.97). It was also shown that in the US, incidence of missing teeth and edentulousness (complete lack of teeth) was highest amongst those aged 25-64, whereas in the United Kingdom it was higher amongst older people, aged 65 plus.

Why would this be?

One major finding of the study was that people of a lower socioeconomic background – that is, poorer people – were far more likely to suffer from oral health problems than in the UK. One possible reason cited for this is that most dental work in the UK is available on the NHS, whereas in the States, dental healthcare, like all medical care, needs to be covered by personal health insurance, which is not always affordable to those on lower incomes.

Does private dental care have to be expensive?

Not at all. Here at CK Dental practice in Bristol, we have teamed up with DenPlan to offer all our patients affordable dental work on an easy payment plan. Even on the NHS, you have to pay for dental treatment – albeit at a reduced rate – and you may well have to wait for treatment.

At Bristol dentist practice CK Dental, patients who sign up with DenPlan pay affordable monthly payments, meaning they can rest assured that not only are all their check-ups and hygienist visits paid for in advance, but in the event that they should suffer a dental emergency, that will be covered too.