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Mary Otto in Conversation with Angie Coiro
Kepler's Books
Menlo Park, CA
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Mary Otto in Conversation with Angie Coiro
Presented by Kepler's Literary Foundation

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
7:30 p.m.

Kepler's Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Deamonte Driver died of a toothache.

The twelve-year-olds family demographics  black and poor  left them without insurance; even Medicaid was lost when they became homeless. By the time Deamonte was able to get treatment, a simple abcess had grown into a bacterial infection invading his brain. What could have been cured with basic, early dental intervention ended up in emergency surgeries that failed to save his life.

Health journalist Mary Otto documented his story for the Washington Post. Then she dove further into stories of Americans across the US who turn up at free clinics to have teeth pulled out. One of them, in Maryland, had been lancing her own gums to ease the pain of infection. All of them have been abandoned by a system where efforts to bring dental care to the masses have been scuttled by dental lobbying groups. Their power has been compared to that of the NRA.

Ottos book Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America documents a history of commodified care that leaves Americas lower classes in a hopeless loop: unemployment dictating a lack of care, leading to loss of teeth, making employment even less likely. And she examines the parallel track of modern dental care, which focuses increasingly on high-margin beauty treatments while spurning Medicaid clients.

Mary Otto sits down with Keplers in-house journalist Angie Coiro to examine the players, the intricacies, and possible solutions to this life-threatening shortage of basic health care.

Mary Otto will be introduced by Dr. Bonnie Jue of the nonprofit Sonrisas Dental Health (San Mateo/Half Moon Bay).

Kepler's Literary Foundation is a non-profit project of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation dedicated to enriching the community through literary and cultural programs featuring notable writers, artists and original thinkers.



Kepler's Books (View)
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
United States

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Arts > Literary

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: Yes!
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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