By Alison Majikes/Special to

The areas of the nation that top the list in unemployment also see a prevalence of a condition that could prevent someone from getting a job: missing teeth.

According to an article on, the number of working-age Americans with absent teeth seems to be on the rise.

The largest example of this epidemic is West Virginia, where statistics show not only the highest jobless rate (as of June) but also the most working-age adults (18-64) missing six or more teeth — 23%.

Nearly one in five working-age adults in some states south of the Mason-Dixon line have missing teeth, according to stats from the Commonwealth fund.

A study published last week in the journal Health Affairs showed that 45 million Americans face dental care shortages. This shortage has prompted dental professionals to produce dentures rapidly and inexpensively to help their patients find jobs quickly.

People lacking some or all of their teeth “…almost become recluses. They don’t go out in society. They don’t apply for jobs,” said Frank Tuminelli, a Great Neck, N.Y. dentist and president of the American College of Prosthodontics, specializes in replacing and restoring teeth. “You give them teeth, and they feel good about themselves and go out and get a job.”

For many, tooth loss is a sign of poverty, and dentures may be a luxury that a person may not be able to pay for out-of-pocket without dental benefits.

To read more about why patients of all ages choose dentures:–dentures/31119299/