Smiling celebrities take a bite out of young people's oral confidence

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Celebrities who spend thousands of pounds remodelling their mouths in search of the perfect smile are making image-conscious young people anxious about their teeth, a survey has shown.

Celebrities who spend thousands of pounds remodelling their mouths in search of the perfect smile are making image-conscious young people anxious about their teeth, a survey has shown.

Young people have better teeth and fewer fillings than older people as a result of dramatic improvements in dental health over the past three decades. But a study conducted in Britain and Australia showed that younger people are more likely to complain about problems with their teeth and gums than older men and women.

Professor Jimmy Steele of Newcastle University, who led the research, said that the trend for people in the public eye to opt for expensive procedures such as tooth whitening was raising expectations among young people about the way their teeth should look and feel.

David and Victoria Beckham, the novelist Martin Amis and the former EastEnders star Michelle Collins are among those who have spent large sums improving their teeth.

Professor Steele said reports from dentists suggested that they were under pressure to perform small miracles. "You only have to open some of the glossy magazines to see pictures of famous people with perfect unblemished teeth, or features about cosmetic procedures."

"Despite the fact that oral health has been steadily improving over the years, young people are more likely to believe they have unhealthy teeth because they compare themselves with the high standards seen in the celebrity world. People have developed unreasonable expectations of their dentists."

The study, published in Community Dentistry, showed that losing teeth had the biggest impact on quality of life. Once this was taken into account, those aged over 70 were least concerned about their oral health. Those aged 30-49 were most concerned.

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