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Red state blues

Via Shakespeare's Sister, this article from tells us what we probably already could have guessed:
The central Appalachian states lead the nation in toothlessness. More than 32 percent of Tennessee residents surveyed last year had lost six or more teeth because of decay or gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That number was 38 percent in Kentucky and 43 percent in West Virginia, which holds the distinction of the most toothless state. Kentucky ranked No. 1 in toothlessness in 2003.


Organizers of the mobile dental offices said too many people in mountain communities have the mistaken notion that losing teeth is a normal part of growing old. Some do not seem to realize that teeth are intended to last a lifetime.

"People feel like they can do without teeth, or that they can always buy false ones," said David Aker, mountain missions director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

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