Oral Health Around the World
It’s been said that math is the universal language. But math can never communicate as much as a smile does — and a smile means the same thing in every nation.
Sadly, however, the smiles in some countries aren’t as healthy as those in others. Here is a brief look at some oral health statistics from around the world.
Which Country Has the Best Teeth?
It is impossible to say with certainty which country has the best teeth in the world, but there are some figures that give us a general idea. According to one dental blogger who works in a Michigan dental office, Japan takes the crown for the world’s best teeth. The country has over 200,000 dental hygienists. That’s an impressive number, especially when you consider Japan has about as many dentists as there are in the United States, a country with a considerably larger population than Japan. The United States, South Korea, Canada, and Denmark also rounded out the world’s top five nations with the healthiest teeth.
Some people may even argue that Britain has some of the best teeth in the world. The country has a bad reputation for its citizens’ poor teeth, but the stereotype isn’t true. One statistic cites that in a recent year, 7 out of 10 Brits went to see a dentist, whereas only 4 out of 10 Americans did the same.
Which Country Has the Worst Teeth?
It is a fairly safe assumption that countries with the worst teeth are countries with limited resources. According to the World Health Organization, dental caries are “a most prevalent oral disease in several Asian and Latin American countries.”
The crisis seems to be particularly severe in The Philippines. The dean of the University of The Philippines College of Dentistry stated nearly 90 percent of Filipinos suffer from tooth decay. What’s worse is that almost 100 percent of children ages three to five in that country have cavities. Of course, those figures are only estimates, because as the dean noted, more than 75 percent of Filipinos have never been to a dentist.
A Few Surprises
It makes sense that most developed countries have more access to dental care, and therefore, their citizens have healthier teeth than people living in poorer regions of the world. However, you may be surprised to learn that several countries in Africa have a fairly low occurrence of cavities. This is because the normal diet in these African countries has a low amount of processed sugars. However, as these countries progress economically, increased tooth decay may follow. Another surprise is that Australia, which is considered to be a first-world country, has a high occurrence of cavities.
How are your teeth doing? Would you fit right in with the gleaming smiles in Japan, or do your pearly whites need a little work? Your smile will help you communicate no matter which country you’re in, so be sure to keep it in good shape by making regular visits to your local dental care provider.
Image via Flickr by mac.rj