I figure if someone is willing to write a book about dentistry and dental health geared for general public reading, then I am going to read it. Well Donna R. Williams-Ngirwa has written just such a book; and I just ordered it. Over the past three years I have read several academic and clinical articles on dentistry and dental health, most with dreaded statistic about minority populations encounter with dental well being, but few offering any comprehensive interventions or insight as for tackling the issues that create the dreaded statistics. In these articles, the Asian population fair the worst, and not far behind are African American and African Diaspora in the US. Not surprisingly, my current interest (almost obsession) with reading articles on dentistry, is inspired by my own personal journey. Some years ago being informed, when I inquired for guidance as to what I could do to stave of a pending issue, that is was “it’s a common problem among African American”. My response: “it was that it may are common, but what can I do to not succumb.” My responsibilities was met with what could be described as dental profession eye rolling. You know what I mean, it was the equivalent of ‘get over it, it’s just a matter of time and you too will have it, because you are BLACK‘. I would like to say that I walked out of the office and never went back, but this was not the case. The dentist had already started work in my mouth that needed an additional four visits to complete. In my mind, he would damn well complete the work and then I am happy to see the back of him and his office; or more precise, he would see the back of me.
But truth be told, I have always been curious about this dentistry, especially as it relates to enslavement and the use and abuse of enslaved bodies and how that translated into the current. But that’s for another post.