Dental Lobby

waterBottled water was a topic of conversation the other day with my co-workers.  Many of them were talking about the lack of recycling incentive, which is a problem (I get ten cents back when I bring back a soda bottle, yet I get nothing for water).  Many of them were talking about the purity of the product (it’s a fairly recent story that Pepsi admitted to just filling up Aquafina with any ole water they could find), which is a problem.  Many were also talking about how popular bottled water has gotten despite having some of the cleanest public water in the world (at least before the Bush Administration), which is a problem.

But the first thing I thought of was “recommended daily allowance” vs. “manufacturer’s recommendation.”

For those of you who don’t particularly care what you eat, “recommended daily allowance” basically means someone somewhere convinced some government official that you should ingest a certain amount of their product daily; for those of you who don’t fix things very often, “manufacturer’s recommendation” basically means that the manufacturer tells you when they think you should replace their parts.  In the second scenario, the party telling you what to do has a clear, vested interest – and since lobbyists have taken over our government, it’s also clear that the party in the first scenario that the party telling you what to do has a vested interest.   So I usually go a by a rule of 2’s.

If the manufacturer says I should change the filter every season, I do it every other season: if they say I should feed my dog two cans a day, I feed him one.  This generally serves me pretty well.  I got my oil changed every 6,000 miles (you’re supposed to do it every 3,000) until I hit 100,000 miles; now I do it every 3,000 (you’re supposed to do it every 1,500).  You’re supposed to eat nine servings of vegetables a day, I eat 4-5 (I don’t think I can eat nine servings of anything in one day; that’s a lot of food).

I noticed, though, that the dental lobby isn’t like that at all.  They’re very straightforward: “brush for two minutes twice a day to avoid tooth problems.” You would think I would either brush for one minute once a day or for four minutes four times a day (depending on your perspective), but this “twofertwo” thing is dead-on.

Does this look like a fun job?

Does this look like a fun job?

And when you go to the dentist – if this were a typical American institution – they’d say, “Oh, you’re doing a fine job of brushing.  13 cavities per visit are normal at your age.”  But they don’t.  They yell at you every time for not flossing enough.

I could never understand why people get into dentistry; having your hands in peoples’ mouths all day isn’t a career choice I had considered.  But now I know; it’s the only honest profession.

That and “best comic of all time comic book maker.”

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One Response

  1. my dad was a dentist!

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