It’s a stereotype in the United States that has stood the test of time, thanks to popular culture: everyone seems to think that the British have unhealthy and unsightly teeth, especially compared to Americans’ mouths. A study published in the British Medical Journal set out to set the record straight by examining just how straight — and healthy — teeth were in each place.

Their findings may stun those who have watched moves like Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, in which the title English character was known for his scattered, extra-large chompers. It turns out that Americans’ dental health is in no way better than their British counterparts; in fact, the study revealed that some British people have better oral health than those in the states.

Researchers compared data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, collected between 2005 and 2008, to data from the Adult Dental Health Survey, collected in 2009 in England. Each survey represented thousands of men and women from both sides of the pond, aged 25 and older. The averages showed that more men and women in the United States had missing teeth than their British counterparts: Americans had an average of 7.31, while Brits came in wiht 6.97.

One interesting finding compared the access to dental healthcare in the States, versus dental healthcare in the UK. The majority of residents of the UK have dental coverage, while many Americans remain uncovered. This may explain why the numbers are higher in the United States.

Clearly, this study has more depth than the initial silliness that it may seem to explore: attention to dental health has fallen by the wayside for many Americans. Perhaps it’s time to regain ground by investing in healthy, beautiful smiles again.

At Orthodontics Only, we can help you with both the former and the latter. Dr. Derek Sanders will improve your orthodontic alignment to ensure that your teeth are secure in their proper position. His expertise spans all ages, too, and the American Association of Orthodontics suggests that you don’t delay: children should have their first orthodontic examination at the age of 7, according to the AAO. Doing so can help your child side-step any potential tooth development or craniofacial growth issues, which clearly boosts oral health down the line. Later on, teens and adults benefit from orthodontic care, too, even if it’s simply for aesthetics. No matter what, everyone loves to smile with straight, healthy teeth, even our friends across the pond. Find your perfect smile with Dr. Sanders and the team at Orthodontics Only.