“Why is it that British people have such bad teeth?” asked the dentist standing next to me, between bouts of drilling, filling and polishing – or whatever else they do in there while your mouth is at their disposal.
The question surprised me, and puzzled me a bit. I could think of an immediate answer for one section of the public – poor diet after World War II – but as to the rest I really had no idea.
The dentist, who probably hadn’t expected any great enlightenment anyway from a single patient, went back to his task, which immediately cut off any further response from myself.
I could see other obvious differences too. The “Great American Mouth” immediately springs to mind, with this double row of immaculately groomed pearly whites flashing at anybody within distance of that smile. The Brits just didn’t do that!
One would have expected that over the years British dental standards would have improved, but apparently that is too much to expect, unfortunately. See –
“Teeth problems are top reason for young children’s hospital admissions”
Note that we are not talking about hereditary tooth problems, with extra teeth being grown in the wrong places, but about decay – and this is horrifying!
“Figures show 25,812 children aged five to nine with tooth decay have been admitted for multiple extractions in a year.”
“Kathryn Harley, former dean of the faculty of dental surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, told the paper: “We have children who require all 20 of their baby teeth to be extracted. It beggars belief that their diets could produce such a drastic effect.””
“Harley said many of the children presenting with problems could need four or even eight teeth out, with “quite a few” having as many as 14 extracted.”
I am not going to say anything about parents neglecting their children’s health, or bad diet causing excessive tooth decay – there is enough said about this already. I will just say that help may be at hand, (or mouth), in the near future. See –
“The new tooth decay treatment that could see fillings become an unpleasant memory”
“Fillings and the dentist drill could soon become an unpleasant memory after scientists developed a technique to rebuild teeth using tiny electrical pulses that could be available within three years.”
And an alternative treatment –
“Last month researchers from the US government’s dental research team found a blast of intense light from a laser beam activated a chemical in the mouth which “woke up” stem cells within the tooth.”
“The stem cells then formed new dentine, the hard core of the tooth that can easily rot away, around twelve weeks later. Just five minutes under a laser was enough to kick-start the healing process inside the mouth, researchers found.”
This can’t come fast enough!