When Chapin Harris and Horace Hayden approached the University of Maryland in 1840 to propose the integration of dentistry into medical training, the response would reverberate in American public health across the next two centuries. According to Mary Otto, author of Teeth: Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America, the medical school dismissed dentistry as irrelevant to the training of prospective doctors, characterizing the care of teeth as a “mechanical” issue rather than a medical one. After this historic rebuff, the United States’ first dental school was founded as an independent entity. Tus, the complete separation of the dental and medical health care systems was set into motion—with profound and lasting consequences. Today, a few forward-thinking integrated models exist, but in general, there is too little communication between dental and medical health systems, leading to missed opportunities to further the knowledge base for prevention and treatment efforts that address oral health issues in the context of overall health. Private insurance for these two types of care is typically handled under separate plans and by separate insurers. Oral health coverage is offered less often through employee benefit programs than medical coverage. This contributes to a general sense that oral health care is a “nice extra” rather than essential. Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that Americans fail to appreciate the connections between oral health and overall health.