Which Cultures Have the Best Teeth?
Whether you come from a culture of wealth or poverty, smiling remains a universal language. From brushing your teeth to getting a tooth extracted, each individual is subject to their own cultural traditions.
Discover how other cultures perceive oral hygiene and which countries have the best teeth.
How the World Brushes Their Teeth
Western countries have been fortunate to use nylon and electric toothbrushes. However, most of the world, especially ancient cultures, still use long-established methods. Meanwhile, few societies don’t brush their teeth at all. Many dentists like Dr. Eugene Stanislaus in Brooklyn, NY take the time to educate their patients on effective cleaning techniques.
Surprisingly, many indigenous people have fewer oral health problems due to the absence of Western foods with processed sugars. Diets low in processed sugar and rich in whole foods show signs of minimizing oral health issues, such as cavities and gum disease.
A 1942 study published in the Journal of Dental Research showed that consuming foods high in vitamin K prevented cavities. Some foods include chicken or goose liver, fermented foods, grass-fed animal fat, and egg yolks.
In many regions of the world, people clean their teeth with twigs by breaking it in half, softening the end, and rubbing it on their teeth. Arab tribes commonly use tigs of the arak tree, Muslim cultures use miswak, and Hindu Brahmins use cherry wood. Meanwhile, religious groups in India clean their teeth with their fingers.
Cultural Beliefs and Practices
There are four aspects that shape an individual’s cultural beliefs and practices in regards to oral health. These areas include preventive care, oral hygiene methods, notions about teeth, and folklore remedies.
Many different cultures don’t have access to competent health care, nonetheless dental care.
Without immediate treatment, a toothache often results in an extraction. Wealthier individuals in western countries have the privilege of receiving root canals and crowns.
Believe it or not, there is minimal awareness of gum disease in many cultures. They solely understand that brushing teeth removes food from their mouths. However, the concept of removing plaque and tartar is unheard of. Using dental floss, mouthwash, and tongue cleaners are viewed with skepticism.
Meanwhile, some cultures prefer using traditional remedies and cures in place of Western medicine. Traditional cultures use herbs and healing methods, including acupuncture and moxibustion. Culturally-accepted remedies are passed down through generations and applied in most instances of pain or discomfort.
Seasoned dentists, like Dr. Anil Ralhan, understand the importance of providing a patient-centered approach. That’s why they keep your values in mind when deciding on a treatment plan.
So Who Has the Best Teeth?
There are a number of cultural factors that contribute to higher rates of cavities and further oral health problems.
The World Health Organization states that oral care is affected by inadequate fluoride exposure, socioeconomic status, insufficient access to proper dental care, dietary habits, poor oral hygiene, and limited insurance accessibility. Cultural influences also overlap with dental health, socioeconomic status, and personal preference.
The most competent way to measure a large population’s oral hygiene is using the DMFT Index. Dentists count the number of decayed, missing, or filled teeth for each individual in a sample group representing their population.
An average is made and a numeric value is given to the entire population. The closer the value is to 0, the better. The top 10 countries with the best teeth are:
- Denmark, 0.4
- Germany, 0.5
- Finland, 0.7
- United Kingdom, 0.8
- Sweden, 0.8
- Switzerland, 0.9
- Canada, 1.0
- Mexico, 1.1
- United States, 1.2
- France, 1.2
Cultural beliefs and lifestyles have the ability to influence your smile. Countries with the lowest rates of dental decay typically have healthier diets. While most developing countries have higher rates of oral health problems.
There is a connection between diet, wellness, and oral health that optimizes dental health. Many dentists stress the importance of their health and well-being to achieve a healthy smile, like Dr. Sam Cohen in Westland, MI.
Wherever you’re from, understanding how different cultures approach oral hygiene brings about an appreciation for your own traditions.