Britain's Bad Smiles Revealed

One lady in her 50s, who preferred to remain unnamed, said she chewed with one side of her mouth in order to avoid a cavity. The result was that half of her teeth became considerably more worn down than the other. But she managed to avoid that dreaded trip to the dentist.

A few days ago, an inquest into the death of Sophie Waller of Cornwall found that she died as a result of a phobia of dentists. The 8-year-old had refused to open her mouth to eat, drink or speak after an operation to remove her baby teeth. The inquest heard that Sophie developed the phobia after a routine dental check-up two years before her death. Doctors found no food in her stomach after she died.

The British government denounced the findings of Which? as unreliable. The Department of Health's chief dental officer, Barry Cockcroft, questioned the survey on the grounds that the findings come from "an online multiple-choice survey that has no statistical credibility."

Survey Estimate Is 'Ludicrous'

"It is ludicrous to suggest that 3 million people are doing DIY dentistry," Cockcroft told ABCNews. "Thanks to our investment of over 2 billion pounds [about $2.8 billion] in state dentistry, there are now lots of new dental practices expanding and opening around the country."

The introduction of 655 more dentists in the U.K. last year makes it unnecessarily dangerous to perform do-it-yourself dentistry, according to the government.

Still, the survey does little to reform the stereotype that Britons have teeth like Austin Powers.

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