Mary Otto


Mary Otto

CE Credit hours:1

This presentation will discuss the reporting that went into the book Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality and the Struggle for Oral Health in America and the author’s journey from Florida to Alaska to understand America’s oral health system. The social and cultural repercussions of the inherent inequality in the dental healthcare system and the need for reform will be discussed.

Upon completion, attendees will be able to:
• Better understand the history of the dental profession in the United States
• Understand the internal, external, and political forces that have shaped the current dental healthcare system
• Understand the varied challenges that may influence the future dental healthcare system

Mary Otto is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist who began writing about oral health at The Washington Post, where she covered social issues, including health care and poverty. In 2007, she wrote about 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, a Maryland child covered by Medicaid who died after bacteria from a dental infection spread to his brain. The death of the boy spurred congressional hearings, a revamping of Maryland’s Medicaid dental system and increased attention to oral health access for Medicaid children nationwide. After leaving the Post in 2008, Otto spent an academic year studying oral health at Harvard as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow. She now works as an independent journalist and oral health topic leader for the Association of Health Care Journalists. She is the author of the book "Teeth: Beauty, Inequality and the Struggle for Oral Health In America" published in 2017 by The New Press