Essay on The Article Poor Teeth By Sarah Smarsh

Essay on The Article Poor Teeth By Sarah Smarsh

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The article Poor Teeth was written by Sarah Smarsh with the goal in mind being to shed light on the issue between upper and lower class society in a particularly concrete way. Teeth and dental health are an easy thing for people to imagine in their head because everyone has a set whether they’re white and shiny or black and rotted. This makes it easy to draw a comparison between people that care for their teeth and those who don’t. However, access to dental knowledge and services which the lower class often times doesn’t have is very different between the poor and the rich. While the rich stroll through life showing off their perfect glossy white rows of teeth, there are less privileged people out there with barren mouths whose weak pale gums house only three or four partially rotted teeth . This is where Smarsh makes her point. Upper class people are almost expected to have lovely teeth often due the result of thousands of dollars of dental work, while lower class people who swig mountain dew and crunch on chips all day are almost expected to black nasty stumps for teeth. Poor Teeth tells the story of a little girl who was raised in the low down trailer park community, used to wearing ragged non fitting clothes to school, and constantly bringing brown paper bags to school in lieu of an actual backpack. She was the same as all kids around her in every way except for one, she grew into an almost perfect straight and white set of teeth despite living among people who don’t take care of their teeth and having minimal dental care and knowledge of mouth health. Now why would Smarsh include this unique girl in her narrative that has a main focus of drawing comparisons? Wouldn’t including someone who was so contrasting to the main messag...


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...ve of the upper and lower class gap than anyone else. Everyone has or has had a set of teeth which allows them to connect with the issue at hand, and introducing a girl in the exact opposite position most people would expect her to be in allows all members of the audience to resonate with at least some part of the story. Smarsh isn’t living a life trapped in these run-down communities like most people she was raised around. She has gone on to become a reporter of world issues, having worked for “The New Yorker” as well as a public speaker. It wasn’t her teeth that got her into the position she’s in now, but it certainly had to have helped her confidence when pursuing her career. She’s a distinguished writer and Poor Teeth brings light to how “If you have a mouth full of teeth shaped by a childhood in poverty, don’t go knocking on the door of American privilege” (1)

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