New York: There is a popular belief in the US that the English have terrible teeth, much worse than Americans. Contrary to this belief, new research has found that oral health of the US citizens is not better than that of the English.
"We have shown that the oral health of Americans is not better than the English, and there are consistently wider educational and income related oral health inequalities in the US compared with England," the researchers said.
The research team based in Britain and the US assessed oral health measures and socioeconomic indicators using data from the English Adult Dental Health Survey (ADHS), and the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Adults aged 25 years and older were included with samples of 8,719 (England) and 9,786 (US) for analyses by education and 7,184 (England) and 9,094 (US) for analyses by income.
Education level and household income were used as socioeconomic indicators.
The study showed that the mean number of missing teeth was significantly higher in the US (7.31) than in England (6.97).
Moreover, there was strong evidence of significant socioeconomic inequalities in oral health in both countries, but these inequalities were consistently higher in the US than in England for all the measures assessed.
Different levels of access and treatment services between the health systems may have contributed to these findings, the study said.
Another possible reason could be the role of oral health risk factors, such as sugar consumption and smoking, they explained.
The study was published in The BMJ (British Medical Journal).