States with the Best and Worst Teeth in 2022
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Table of Contents
- States with the Best & Worst Teeth
- America’s Dental Issues
- Top Food & Drinks that Stain Teeth
- The Truth About Teeth Whitening
- Dental Tourism
- Fair Use
They’re a 10, but they don’t smile with their teeth. We smile when we’re feeling our best – whether we’re happy, laughing, or posing for a photo, but our new survey found 1 out of 2 Americans don’t feel beautiful when they smile. In fact, nearly half smile with their mouth closed because of dental issues.
Americans are facing everything from discolored teeth to missing teeth, and it’s making them self-conscious. Many want to change their teeth and are trying but are putting their trust in Google before their dentist.
States with the Best and Worst Teeth
While people across the U.S. struggle with different dental issues, some states are dealing with more problems than others. Using Google search trends data, we figured out which states have the best and worst teeth based on how many people are searching for dental issues (and fixes). Those who searched the most have the worst teeth compared to those who search the least.
The Midwest reigns supreme when it comes to dental care. The top five states with the best teeth are Michigan (1st), Ohio (2nd), Indiana (3rd), Missouri (4th) and Wisconsin (5th).
States dealing with the most dental issues are smaller, more remote states. Wyoming is the state with the worst teeth, followed by Vermont (2nd), North Dakota (3rd), Alaska (4th), and Delaware (5th). It’s not surprising, since our study on dental shortages found some of the areas struggling the most are rural.
America’s Dental Issues
The reason many Americans are self-conscious about their smile
Nearly 7 in 10 (67%) Americans are self-conscious about their teeth. The biggest issue people have is discolored teeth (57%) or misaligned teeth (43%) like a snaggle tooth . About 1 in 5 (19%) are dealing with a cracked tooth, 17% have a missing tooth, and 15% have a gap in their teeth.
While nearly half (45%) are planning to get their dental issues fixed, about 42% are not. When it comes down to it, the main reason is cost. More than half (61%) say it’s too expensive, and 17% don’t have any dental insurance. Others are too nervous or afraid of the dentist, so they're putting it off for as long as they can.
About 2 in 5 (39%) said they just don’t care enough to fix it. We recognize that dental imperfections aren’t always necessary to fix. Many people find beauty in things like gap-teeth. Celebrities like Michael Strahan and Seal embrace it. In fact, in some cultures, gaps in teeth are considered good luck. While we work to straighten teeth using clear aligners, we can help align teeth while also letting people keep their gaps if they like them!
Nearly 7% of our survey respondents admitted that they aren’t fixing their teeth because they don’t know what the problem is or how to fix it. It may be because they haven’t been to the dentist. When we asked who people are turning to for dental advice, more than 1 in 3 (36%) admitted they use Google more than their dentist!
Top Food & Drinks that Stain Teeth
The biggest struggle most Americans are facing is keeping their teeth white. More than 80% would like whiter teeth, and 76% said they have stained teeth.
Cigarettes and cigars are a major cause of stained teeth, but what you eat and drink can impact the color of your teeth too. Nearly 1 in 5 (17%) make sure to avoid drinks like soda, coffee, or tea to try and keep their teeth white. We spoke to Byte’s network of dentists about which foods and drinks stain teeth the most, and here’s what they recommended you avoid:
Top Foods that Stain Teeth
- Tomato-based sauces
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Colorful popsicles
- Colorful hard candies and gummies
- Curry dishes (especially those with turmeric)
Top Drinks that Stain Teeth
- Tea (including green tea)
- Red wine
- Dark colas
Having crooked, crowded, and misaligned teeth also make it easier to collect stains and are harder to clean. To get rid of stained teeth, many Americans try teeth whitening. More than half (53%) of Americans have attempted to whiten their teeth. More women have tried it than men. We found nearly 60% of women have done teeth whitening compared to 48% of men.
While 18% of Americans have had the dentist whiten their teeth, a whopping 93% have tried an over-the-counter product at home. While most at-home teeth whitening products help brighten your teeth, it just normally takes more time and treatment than getting it done at the dentist.
The Truth About Teeth Whitening
Once Americans start whitening their teeth, they do it pretty regularly. More than 1 in 10 (14%) do it once a month, and nearly one-quarter (24%) do it anywhere from monthly to every 6 months. More than 1 in 3 (36%) whiten their teeth whenever they look stained.
When deciding what product to use, most Americans once again usually turn to Google. More than half (55%) said they choose their product based on the search engine. Others use a family or friend recommendation, dentist recommendation, social media, or just grab the cheapest one on the shelf. On average, people spent $64 on teeth whitening products over the past year.
Nearly 1 in 3 (28%) have tried to naturally whiten their teeth. Nearly 2 in 5 (38%) use a teeth whitening product that says it has zero sensitivity, but it’s important to note that there’s no such thing as a teeth whitener that works with zero sensitivity. The best thing to do is to choose a product that is formulated for sensitive teeth or cut down on how much you’re whitening your teeth.
More than 1 in 10 also use a teeth whitening product without peroxide. A number of respondents said they don’t use peroxide because they heard it was bad for their teeth, but the small amount of peroxide in teeth whitening is typically safe.
Rather than home remedies, others are turning to other countries to try and get dental procedures done at a cheaper rate. More than 1 in 10 Americans surveyed admitted they’ve considered leaving the U.S. for cheaper dental work like teeth whitening. Nearly 1 in 5 (17%) have considered leaving the U.S. for a cheaper medical procedure.
On average, Americans Google “dental tourism” or “dental tourism Mexico” 2,300 times every month! The cities searching the most about it are the ones closer to the U.S.-Mexico border. The top city was Tucson, Arizona followed by Arlington, Texas (2nd), Minneapolis (3rd), New Orleans (4th), and Oakland (5th).
While dental tourism can save you money up front, it’s not always safe. The United States has rigorous state-by-state license requirements to make sure all dental work is kept to an incredibly high standard (Byte has a dentist licensed in every state). We want you to have the best teeth possible, and with teledentistry you don’t have to leave the country, or even your couch, to get started on prioritizing your health.
In August 2022, we surveyed 1,056 Americans about their teeth. Survey respondents range in age from 18 to 84 with an average age of 36. 48% were male, 48% female, 3% nonbinary, and 1% transgender.
For this report, we analyzed Google search volume of 1,331 terms related to teeth such as “teeth whitening,” “how to fix snaggletooth,” and “crooked yellow teeth” over the period of July 2020 to July 2022. Total search volume during this period was then calculated per capita and visualized per 100,000 to determine which cities were searching the most and least for teeth-related phrases on Google. The results were used to determine the cities with the best and worst teeth.
For the dental tourism portion, we analyzed 187 terms such as “Tijuana dentist,” “Mexico dental prices,” and “dental vacation” over the period of July 2020 to July 2022. In order to rank which cities search for these terms the most, search volume was calculated per capita, or per 100,000 residents
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