Jenny Barchfield – Houston Chronicle, 8/10/2012
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The orthodontist bent intently over Flavia Soares da Costa’s open mouth, tightening the glimmering silver brackets that are remaking her smile.
Not long ago, it would have been all but unthinkable for the 33-year-old former secretary and single mother to undergo such pricey dental work.
But Costa’s fortunes have recently improved, with a promotion and a raise that brought her disposable income.
In fact, an estimated 40 million people such as Costa have joined the ranks of Brazil’s middle class between 2003 and 2011, according to the Fundacao Getulio Vargas economic think tank, providing them with enormous purchasing power and sparking businesses to come up with new marketing techniques to woo them.