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Teeth : The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America
by Mary Otto


Overview -
" Teeth is]... more than an exploration of a two-tiered system--it is a call for sweeping, radical change."
-- New York Times Book Review

"Show me your teeth," the great naturalist Georges Cuvier is credited with saying, "and I will tell you who you are." In this shattering new work, veteran health journalist Mary Otto looks inside America's mouth, revealing unsettling truths about our unequal society.  Read more...


 
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More About Teeth by Mary Otto
 
 
 
Overview

" Teeth is]... more than an exploration of a two-tiered system--it is a call for sweeping, radical change."
--New York Times Book Review

"Show me your teeth," the great naturalist Georges Cuvier is credited with saying, "and I will tell you who you are." In this shattering new work, veteran health journalist Mary Otto looks inside America's mouth, revealing unsettling truths about our unequal society.

Teeth takes readers on a disturbing journey into America's silent epidemic of oral disease, exposing the hidden connections between tooth decay and stunted job prospects, low educational achievement, social mobility, and the troubling state of our public health. Otto's subjects include the pioneering dentist who made Shirley Temple and Judy Garland's teeth sparkle on the silver screen and helped create the all-American image of "pearly whites"; Deamonte Driver, the young Maryland boy whose tragic death from an abscessed tooth sparked congressional hearings; and a marketing guru who offers advice to dentists on how to push new and expensive treatments and how to keep Medicaid patients at bay.

In one of its most disturbing findings, Teeth reveals that toothaches are not an occasional inconvenience, but rather a chronic reality for millions of people, including disproportionate numbers of the elderly and people of color. Many people, Otto reveals, resort to prayer to counteract the uniquely devastating effects of dental pain.

Otto also goes back in time to understand the roots of our predicament in the history of dentistry, showing how it became separated from mainstream medicine, despite a century of growing evidence that oral health and general bodily health are closely related.

Muckraking and paradigm-shifting, Teeth exposes for the first time the extent and meaning of our oral health crisis. It joins the small shelf of books that change the way we view society and ourselves--and will spark an urgent conversation about why our teeth matter.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781620971444
  • ISBN-10: 1620971445
  • Publisher: New Press
  • Publish Date: March 2017
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Social Science > Disease & Health Issues
Books > Health & Fitness > Oral Health
Books > Medical > Health Policy

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2017-01-09
  • Reviewer: Staff

This full-length debut from Otto, a health journalist who writes for the Washington Post, takes a hard-hitting look at the current state of oral health in a beauty-obsessed America. She highlights access disparities, poorly addressed by our national support networks, that can have lifelong devastating, or even fatal, effects. Ottos complex history of dentistry depicts dental care as a field on the fringes of modern medicine. She begins in 1840 with the founding of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, elevating dentistry from a trade to a profession, and traces its evolution perpetually in isolation from the rest of Americas health care system. More moving are the books portraits of the effects of neglected dental health care in poor communities: chronic pain is a given, the stigma of missing teeth hinders job prospects, untreated infections lead to emergency room visits, and traveling clinics are left to pull teeth too rotted to repair. Otto highlights the case of 12-year-old Deamonte Drivers death from complications of an untreated abscessed tooth, which eventually led to the 2009 expansion of the Childrens Health Insurance Program. With many adults still uninsured, childrens dental care far from universal, and the future of government-supported health care unclear, Ottos sobering report should not go unheeded. (Mar.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews