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Publisher's Summary

"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 listeners 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.
©2017 Mary Otto (P)2017 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

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

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Alicia on 04-19-18

The Struggle is Real

Many do not understand the impact that oral health has on our country. This book provides some great perspective. I am starting dental school in July and I am glad that I read this book. My only criticism would be that at times it feels like dentists are being vilified. I would argue that the vast majority of dentists are good people who are genuinely concerned about their fellow man.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Christie Lincoln on 09-27-17

Sad, Compelling, Hopeful - A Must Read/Listen

Where do I begin? Some in the dental field may like this book, some may not. There are always two sides to a story. In the case of oral health, I am hopeful there will be continued emphasis on prevention and bringing mouth health back to the body. Thank you Mary Otto for bringing light in such a captivating manner to an issue that seems so illusive.

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