Teeth decay under capitalism
The Militant article “Deep class divide means some pay for brighter teeth, workers lose theirs” resonated deeply with me. One of my grandmothers died of blood poisoning from an abscessed tooth and the other lost all her teeth by her early 40s.
As a public health nurse I frequently encounter working-class families who struggle to find affordable dental care. I try to locate lower cost dental clinics for them, but the need always outstrips the available resources.
Recently I participated in a tour of the Cuban health care system. One day we visited a facility where the dental surgeons explained that they mostly repair teeth damaged by accidents. They noted that dental care in Cuba is considered a right and is free.
Since their water is not fluoridated, free fluoride treatments are given with careful instructions to families with children. All Cubans, from toddlers to seniors, receive at least two dental care appointments a year, with teeth cleanings, examinations, and timely treatment. Children receive braces for free.
Cuba’s health care (which includes dental) is a remarkable achievement and a testimony to what can be accomplished when the working class is in power. It’s a powerful example for the U.S. working class.
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