Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and The Struggle for Oral Health in America

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FEATURING MARY OTTO – Dental care in the United States is often lumped in with the idea of cosmetic work. We have healthcare and then we have dental care – as if our teeth were separate from the rest of us. Dental care is expensive, prohibitive, and often incurs huge out-of-pocket expenses. Yet we judge our fellow Americans by the health and look of their teeth: straight, white teeth are a mark of health and prosperity while crooked, yellow teeth are a mark of poverty and neglect.

The struggle over oral health in the US is a serious matter, intimately linked to poverty and inequality.

Follow her work on Twitter at ‪twitter.com/mottomatic.

Mary Otto, oral health topic leader for the Association of Health Care Journalists. She was a writer about oral health, social issues, and poverty for the Washington Post for 8 years. Her new book is called Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and The Struggle for Oral Health in America.

2 thoughts on “Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and The Struggle for Oral Health in America

  1. someone sent me a txt to listen to this program because i am working to get funding for comprehensive dental care for low-income seniors. poor dental care contributes, exacerbates, or causes many preventable or early treatment conditions, including heart disease, poor nutrition, diabetes, low self-esteem, etc. there are almost 300,000 people 65 and over who are on medicare & medi-cal…with dental care providing EXTREMELY limited benefits for people 21 and over. been talking to federal and state legislators. no hope for that in the next few years. so i am going to clinics to see who will establish or expand..and to funders to pay for the services. a long haul. didnt realize how complicated it would be when i started. i will try to reach mary otto…. would you plz put in a good word for me with her so she will talk to me. thank you so much for covering this important topic.

  2. Thank you Roz for the important work you are doing! As we face retirement from jobs that provide a dental plan, what do we do about our dental health? Do we pay put of pocket for all our dental care on a fixed income? That will drive us into poverty for certain! There are really NO options that i know of.

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