Of the countless ways in which poverty eats at the body, one of the most visible, and painful, is in our mouths. Teeth betray age, but also wealth, if they’re pearly and straight, or the emptiness of our pockets, if they’re missing, broken, rotted out. The American health-care system treats routine dental care as a luxury available only to those with the means to pay for it, making it vastly more difficult for millions of Americans to take care of their teeth. And the consequences can be far more profound than just negative effects on one’s appearance. In fact, they can be deadly.
Story and Image: The Nation