My mom has fillings in 16 of her 28 teeth. She’s the eighth of twelve kids, and her dad used hard candies as a reward for quiet at bedtime, so she and her siblings often went to bed with a mouth full of sugar. They didn’t go to the dentist (or any health care provider) except in cases of emergency, and there was always a shortage of healthy food (or any food, really) in the house. So her poor dental health is no surprise.
Poverty, access to transportation, access to dental care, food security, and other factors were all working against her and her family. One thing that wasn’t working against them was their race. Being white confers a set of advantages when it comes to your health, and that’s as true in Colorado as it is anywhere else in the US. Our institutions have a long history of segregating communities of color, concentrating resources in white communities, and designing systems that benefit white people. This leads to preventable differences in the health of our mouths, teeth, and gums. So while many, many white Coloradans are at risk for poor oral health, Coloradans of color are at a greater risk, due to the impact of racism on our laws and policies.