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To boost job prospects, younger Americans seek dentures

  • USA Today

By: Laura Ungar and Jayne O'Donnell - USA Today

Some areas that top the nation for unemployment also fare worst in a health measure that can keep people from getting jobs — missing teeth.

West Virginia is the starkest example. Not only did it have the highest jobless rate in June, but it also holds the dubious distinction of having the most working-age adults who have lost six or more teeth at 23%.

In fact, while most people associate lost teeth and dentures with the elderly, nearly one in five working-age adults in some Southern and Appalachian states have lost at least that many teeth, according to statistics from the Commonwealth Fund. And a study published last week in the journal Health Affairs showed 45 million American face dental care shortages, especially in rural areas. The need has spurred oral care professionals to respond with new ways to make dentures quickly and inexpensively to help those patients get back into the workforce.

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