Skip to comments.Mobile Dentists Help Appalachia Smile
Posted on 07/22/2005 5:35:03 AM PDT by mlc9852
STANTON, Ky. - With a silvery Airstream trailer as a dental office, Dr. Jeff Bailey goes about his work, brightening the often gapped smiles of people in a part of the country with the highest rate of toothlessness in America.
Bailey, one of many volunteers who are bringing free mobile dental care to poor people in the hills and hollows of Appalachia, sees case after case of severe tooth decay and gum disease the consequences of sugary foods, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, a lack of fluoridated water, and simple neglect.
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Takin' my fun on the road...
More Christian charity. I wonder where the Muslim traveling dentists are?
What a great idea. This man is making dentistry a real life work. Most dentists hate what they do because it is so repetitive and frankly, people are annoying when they visit the dentist. But this guy is doing something really worthwhile.
Dental care is limited by law. The lowest class of Americans on the economic and educational scale are either unable and or unwilling to pay hundreds of dollars an hour to a state licensed dental care provider.
Is there another level of care for such people? No, there is none.
That's really sad. A good smile is very important. Would you prefer to hire someone missing teeth or with a nice smile? Also, cavities and gum disease are serious health issues. We worry more about people in Africa than our own back yard. I am not for socialized medicine, but it is really shameful that a country as great at America has adults and children losing teeth because they just cannot afford dental care. If it wasn't for charitable groups such as this, the problem would be even worse.
Last I saw, their equipment was being tested for explosives.
"Meth Mouth" is probably slowing progress down.
These problems existed long before the meth problem, especially in children.
You forget also what it is like living in the hollows of West Virginia, - lack of basic services, including Dentists. Often no flouride in water (wells). Poverty that would still make most of America shudder. Educational levels that do not impact things like taking care of your teeth and gums until it is too late.
I see a lot of folks in WV with only a few teeth, yet apparently plenty of money to spend on tattoos and motorcycles.
Most poor people will not beg.
People outside Appalachia enjoy the mirth of looking down upon such people, yet in wartime these are among the first to stand up for their country.
Well, let's put this in its proper perspective... I'm from the deepest, darkest heart of Appalachia, and in fact both sides of my family settled there in the late 18th century (just after the Revolutionary War). But 90% of the people there are not as impoverished or ill-educated as many believe. Most of the folks from my neck of the woods are thoroughly middle class with nice homes (and yes, running water and in-door plumbing---my grandparents bought their first television in the early 1960s so that they could keep up with NASA and the Mercury space program) and hold down decent jobs in the professions and journeyman trades. The men in my family are all coal miners, but I went to a good high school and then left home in the early 1990s, went to college, and now work as a white collar professional in the work force. Everyone else in my community had the exact same opportunity as me to achieve higher education, and some did, but many did not, choosing to remain home close to their roots. Its been that way since before World War II, but unfortunately, the "Beverly Hillbillies" and Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" has projected the myth that the entire region still lives in the 19th century. This is not true. However, small pockets of individuals living in the "hollers" do live up to those stereotypes, but it's largely by their own choice, not because modern American society has somehow by-passed them during the country's march to modernity. I just want to get this into the discussion before some well meaing folks paint the entire region with a broad brush.
Concerning the availability of dental services, it's always been there, but like in the rest of the country, its high cost and the lack of dental insurance preclude many folks from getting proper treatement. It's no different in Appalachia than it is, say, in East L.A. or Harlem.
Did you know the toothbrush was invented in Kentucky?
If it was invented anywhere else, it would be called a TEETHbrush.
(HA! I kill me!)
***Bailey, one of many volunteers who are bringing free mobile dental care to poor people in the hills and hollows of Appalachia,***
This must be in error. Anyone with an ounce of memory knows that LBJ cured poverty in Applachia with his GREAT SOCIETY programs in 1960's!
My mom's family came from the Tenn KY border area. All had bad teeth.
My dad came from the OK-TX-NM area which has natural fluride in the water. All us kids, from NM, have excellent teeth with very few cavities.
My mother-in-law, from TX had perfect teeth till she told her dentist her arthritis was killing her. He got $$ signs in his eyes and told her that her teeth was the cause of her pain. She had them pulled and 40 years later, still has arthritis but no teeth. (As Bob Hope said in one of his movies, and they were perfect too!)
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