EUROPEAN TEETH….Today Glenn Reynolds is reduced to mocking Europeans because their teeth aren’t as good as ours. Unfortunately, although he spent the few seconds necessary to read Megan McArdle’s post asking why European teeth are in worse shape than Americans’ despite their access to national health care, he didn’t spend the few extra seconds it would take to read the comments, which provided the answer: they aren’t.

Mark, an actual European, explains:

I’m going to re-emphasise this. This isn’t about dental hygiene; despite the relentless jokes and Austin Powers, Europeans have teeth as healthy as Americans, and generally visit dentists as often. They just haven’t succumbed to the cosmetic dentistry thing, not even many television and movie stars. My wife and I always talk about David Bowie in terms of “Old Teeth” vs “New Teeth” eras. Old teeth was pre 1996 (approx) when he suddenly appeared overnight with a set of American style tombstones.

He also says this:

  1. All European countries have permanently, heavily, fluoridated systems. This does massively reduce dental cavities but does stain teeth. Certain bleaching products widely available and used in the US are illegal in the EU as they contain substances only available under prescription.

  2. Non Emergency Dental care is not covered under most European health systems.

  3. A quick walk round your local trailer park should quickly disabuse you of the belief that the American poor have better teeth than the English middle classes.

As a famous blogger likes to say, you really need to read the whole thing if you want to understand what’s going on. The world cannot be explained by cliches from American movies, no matter how tempting it may be to think so.