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04/12/2017

"Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality & the Struggle for Oral Health In America," A Conversation with the Author, Mary Otto (April 12th)

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 As former DHHS Secretary Louis Sullivan wrote in support of this work, "Mary Otto brings history, policy and painful personal realities together in this compelling and engaging book about our nation's highly preventable epidemic of oral disease.  Teeth should be read by every policy maker and health professional who believes we can and must ace to reduce the current barriers to dental care."  (Listeners of this podcast may be also interested in related interviews with Burton Edelstein, DDS, from April 2013 and my interview with the American Dental Association's Dr. Marko Jujicic from January 2016.) 

During this 22 minute conversation, Ms. Otto discusses the impetus for her work, i.e., the 2007 death of a 12-year old Maryland resident, Deamonte Driver, from an abscessed tooth, she discusses efforts to integrate oral health with overall physicial health, the problems of substantial racial/ethnic disparities in oral health in light of the industry's increasing financial interests in provided cosmetic dentistry, the battle between dentists and mid-level providers, e.g., dental hygienists, over the latter's efforts to improve oral health primary and secondary prevention and the possibilities for improved oral health coverage moreover for adults under both Medicare and Medicaid.   

Ms. Mary Otto is the oral health topic leader for the Association of Health Care Journalists.  She began writing about oral health Ottoat The Washington Post, where she worked for eight years covering social issues, including health care and poverty.  Ms. Otto is a resident of Washington, DC.  

Ms. Otto's volume is available via Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Teeth-Beauty-Inequality-Struggle-America/dp/1620971445.   A review of her work appeared in the March 23rd issue of The New York Times, at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/23/books/review/teeth-oral-health-mary-otto.html?_r=0.   An executive summary of Surgeon General David Satcher's 2000 report, "Oral Health In America," noted during this conversation, is at: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/datastatistics/surgeongeneral/report/executivesummary.htm

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