In various works of fiction and nonfiction written over time and place [see, e.g., the opening passage of She Still Lives: A Novel of Tibet (Magee, 2003)], missing teeth are universally distinguished as the physical markers of having been imprisoned. While few accurate data are available on nonlethal violence behind bars in the United States, missing front teeth in men are a sign of a much larger malignancy in U.S. prisons and jails: physical violence perpetrated by staff against prisoners as well as pervasive assaults among prisoners (Gibbons & Katzanbach, 2006). There is no need to convince the editors of this volume of the importance of oral health and health care to the overall safety and well-being of incarcerated populations. By including this chapter, they have heeded the advice of former Surgeon General David Satcher in his landmark report Oral Health in America to reconnect the mouth to the rest of the body (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000).
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