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The value of good teeth

The value of good teeth

Update: 2023-03-0911


As a kid, Ryanne Jones' friend accidentally hit her in the mouth with a hammer, knocking out her two front teeth. Her parents never had enough money for the dental care needed to fix them, so Ryanne lived much of her adult life with a chipped and crooked smile.

Ryanne spent a while as a single mom working low-wage jobs, but she had higher aspirations: she interviewed dozens of times a year for higher-paying roles that she was more than qualified for. But she never landed any of them. And to her, it really seemed like the only thing standing between her and a better job was her rotting, brown front teeth.

Our physical appearances can communicate a lot about our financial status. There are some things, such as clothing, that we have more control over. But there are other things that we don't — and they can have serious long-term economic consequences.

This episode was originally run as part of Marketplace's This is Uncomfortable podcast.

Reported by: Reema Khrais

Edited by: Micaela Blei.

Produced by: Zoë Saunders, Peter Balonon-Rosen, Megan Detrie, Hayley Hershman and Daniel Martinez. The Planet Money version was produced by Alyssa Jeong Perry.

Mastered by: Charlton Thorp

Music: Wonderly

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The value of good teeth

The value of good teeth