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Georgia and The American Dental Crisis
In the mid-1900s, American suffered from a lack of dental care. A public health journal reported in 1946 that the average child had 7.5 cavities. Early during the World War Two draft, recruits needed three matching pairs if front and back teeth (12 total) to be accepted into the military. This requirement was abandoned because too many recruits were being rejected.
The dentist shortage began in the 1920s when stricter standards for dental schools were enacted, and inferior schools closed. During the Great Depression, the graduation rate sank even lower. After World War Two, there was an increase in the number of dentists, but it was not enough to compensate for the rapidly growing population.
The South was particularly in need of dental services. As can be seen below, the south had fewer dentists per capita than the rest of the country. One in four Georgia countries did not have a dentist in 1955.