Global: Attitudes towards dental care
September 27th, 2021, Christien Pheby

Global: Attitudes towards dental care

Popular stereotypes would have you believe that Britain is a nation of weather-obsessed, football-mad, over-mannered, under-emotional tea-drinkers who love nothing more than a good queue or a nice Sunday roast with the Royal Family.

While YouGov cannot speak to the veracity of all these claims, there is evidence to suggest that one of the more persistent myths – that the British do not take good care of their teeth – is somewhat overstated.

Data from YouGov Profiles shows that, in a comparison of five international markets, Britons are actually more likely to take oral hygiene seriously than consumers in other markets. Ask the British public whether taking care of your teeth is important, and 94% of consumers will agree – compared to 91% in the US and Germany, 88% in Australia, and 74% in the UAE.

Ask them whether they agree that they “don’t really care about [their] teeth”, and just one in nine Britons will agree (11%), next to one in ten Australians (10%). By comparison, 16% of Americans and three in ten Germans (29%) and Emiratis (28%) agree that they aren’t particularly bothered about their chompers.

Digging a little deeper into the US and the UK, a third of Americans say they haven’t had any dental problems in the last 12 months (34%) – compared to 44% of Britons. The most common issues reported are cavities (19% US vs 10% GB), toothache (18% US vs. 15% GB), sensitivity (16% US vs. 15% GB), stained teeth (13% US vs. 11% GB), chipped teeth (13% US vs. 10% GB), and gum problems (12% US vs. 13% GB).

Certainly, when it comes to dental issues, the British do not appear to be dramatically worse off than the Americans. When it comes to attitudes towards oral hygiene, they do not appear more lacking than consumers in the US, the UAE, Australia, or Germany. Ultimately, when people say the British neglect their smiles, they may not be telling the whole tooth.


YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

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