No. 1: Biloxi, Miss.
Biloxi is like a perfect storm for bad teeth: no. 51 in dentists per capita, no. 52 (we’re counting D.C. and Puetro Rico in here) in dental visits, no. 51 in exercise, and no. 49 in fruit and vegetable consumption. As if that weren’t enough, it’s also no. 7 in teeth loss and the third smokiest city in America. Teeth don’t stand a chance here!
No. 2: Huntington, W.Va.
West Virginia ranks no. 1 in loss of teeth, which makes sense since it also ranks no. 47 in dental visits and Huntington is the no. 1 smokiest city in America. Their one redeeming factor is their very low wine consumption, less than a gallon a year on average. Huntington residents need to get themselves to a dentist stat!
No. 3: Mobile, Ala.
Mobile has a lot working against healthy teeth. It’s the no. 5 smokiest city, and the state is no. 4 in most teeth loss, no. 48 in dentists per capita and no. 47 in exercise. Their poor mouths
No. 4: Tulsa, Okla.
Tulsa is also on the list of the smokiest cities, coming in at no. 9. That plus the area’s hard water and low fruit and vegetable consumption don’t help the situation either. Could explain why Oklahoma ranks no. 6 in teeth loss
No. 5: Baton Rouge, La.
Louisiana has more than a few factors working against a pretty smile. It ranks no. 43 in dentists per capita, no. 49 in exercise, no. 52 in fruit and vegetable consumption (and we know those crunchy veggies help fight plaque) and — not surprising, considering these factors — no. 5 in teeth loss
No. 6: Bristol, Tenn.
Bristol is the second smokiest city, according to U.S. News & World Report, and Dr. Smigel says smoking can cause major staining on your teeth. Plus, the tar can contribute to gum disease . Smoking isn’t Bristol’s only fault though. The state is also no. 3 in most teeth lost and no. 47 in amount of exercise*, which means residents’ gums have two strikes against them.
*According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
No. 7: Greensboro, N.C.
Greensboro ranks no. 4 for America’s smokiest cities, and that combined with its no. 8 rank in most teeth loss (not to mention being no. 44 in dentists per capita), means you’ll be hard-pressed to find a flawless smile in this town
No. 8: Houston, Texas
Houston residents drink more cola than anywhere else in the country. That plus their ranking of no. 49 in dental visits and no. 41 in dentists per capita doesn’t bode well for healthy teeth. Their hard water can also contribute to stains and their ranking as no. 6 in fattest cities means their teeth and gums may be lacking in nutrients and circulation as well. If they want whiter teeth they’ll need to put down the Coke can and pick up the phone to make an appointment with their dentist
No. 9: Atlanta, Ga.
Atlanta has a few factors working against it. One, as the home of the Coke Corporation, it’s no surprise that they rank no. 4 in cola consumption. That plus its rank of no. 9 in most teeth lost and no. 47 in dentists per capita means less than perfect smiles. Its one saving grace? Almost 95 percent of residents receive fluoridated water, which can help strengthen teeth (however too much can stain them according to Dr. Smigel).
No. 10: Las Vegas, Nev.
Fortunately for Vegas residents, Nevada ranks low on natural teeth loss (no. 44, no. 1 is the worst). However, it’s also low in dental visits (no. 45), humidity (which helps keep gums healthy), and has hard water to boot. It’s average 5.75 gallons of wine a year isn’t helping keep teeth white either. Plus, its rank as one of the nation’s fattest cities means residents may not be eating many teeth-healthy foods (like celery, apples, carrots) or getting much exercise, which boosts gum circulation
No. 11: Miami, Fla.
Florida residents love their coffee and wine, and that puts them on this list. They are no. 2 in coffee consumption and also imbibe an average of 4.09 gallons of wine a year per person* (the U.S. average is 3.02 gallons annually). That plus hard water and a rank of no. 37 in dental visits means there are some seriously stained teeth in Miami.
*According to Adams Beverage Group, which publishes the “Wine Handbook.”
No. 12: St. Louis, Mo.
Missouri ranks no. 3 in cola consumption and all that sugar and artificial coloring can wreak havoc on your teeth’s health and appearance. The state does have one of the lowest coffee consumption rates though, so that helps a bit. But soda combined with low dental visits (Missouri ranks no. 46) and high loss of teeth (ranked no. 13, with no. 1 being the worst), doesn’t bode well for smiles in St. Louis.
No. 13: Little Rock, Ark.
Arkansas as a whole doesn’t seem to put healthy teeth on their priorities list. The state ranks no. 50 in dentists per capita and dental visits and no. 15 (with no. 1 being the worst) in natural teeth loss*. Proof that there are consequences when you ignore the dentist. *According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
No. 14: Albuquerque, N.M.
While Albuquerque is one of the fittest cities in the country according to Men’s Health magazine, and that can contribute to overall teeth health (since exercise boosts circulation to your gums), the state ranks no. 49 in dentists per capita (according to statehealthfacts.org) and no. 41 in dental visits*, which means many residents aren’t taking regular care of their teeth. Dr. Smigel says regular dentist visits are important to remove tartar, which can only be done professionally. Albuquerque also has hard water, which can stain teeth, and a dry climate, which can contribute to gum disease by limiting saliva.
What makes for a beautiful smile? We asked Irwin Smigel, DDS., founder and president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics (ASDA) and creator of Supersmile, for his criteria: Regular dentist visits, not smoking, minimizing your coffee, soda and red wine intake, and brushing and flossing. Other factors, like having hard water or a dry climate, can also stain teeth or create a dry mouth (which can hurt gums). We looked at these factors and found 14 cities that fell short on what it takes to have a healthy, attractive smile. If your city is on the list, it might be time to make an appointment with your dentist.