“Dentistry is not expensive, neglect is.” ~Anonymous
I just finished reading Why Don’t We Treat Teeth Like the Rest of Our Bodies?, an article by Olga Khazan, published Thursday, 25 September 2014, in The Atlantic. The article does a good job of presenting the problem, but I am concerned about the solution.
I remember when a private room in a hospital was $10 a night; semi-private $4; a ward $1. You could open your wallet and pay on your way out the door. Who needed insurance?
I remember when a doctor’s visit was $2 to $5. When a tooth extraction was $5. Even when persons didn’t care if their teeth were gray, yellow, ivory, off-white, white, or dazzling white, as long as they functioned. When did costs go up? When government got into Medicare and Medicaid. When people began needing insurance.
I remember when shredded wheat cereal was 15¢ a box, corn flakes 29¢, Raisin Bran 39¢. When did costs go up? When government came out with the WIC program. Overnight cereal jumped to $4 a box.
I remember when a brand-new stripped-down automobile cost $1,500; a comfortable sedan, $3,000. When did costs go up? When government came out with all the EPA stuff and began telling car manufacturers how to build a car.
I remember when a three-bedroom brick home, sometimes with basement or carport, and land, cost $3,000-$6,000; a more comfortable home, $10,000. When did costs go up? When the Federal government got into the mortgage business.
I remember when college cost $20 to $30 a semester hour or less. Once I paid as little as $17 for a two-hour course at a state school, including fees and health insurance. When did costs go up? When the Federal government got into student loans.
Which came first? Increased costs or government assistance? Government.
IF THE GOVERNMENT GETS INTO ANYTHING, THE COST GOES UP.
“Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” ~Ronald Reagan
“The most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’ ” ~Ronald Reagan
Government involvement means the government has its nose in everyone’s business. Everyone has to report. Which puts us in a hostage situation to a bullying state.
“Man is not free unless government is limited.” ~Ronald Reagan
“Government’s first duty is to protect the people not to run their lives.” ~Ronald Reagan
So you see where Socialism is headed: to make us all government-dependent.
“One traditional method of imposing Socialism on a people has been by way of medicine, which is easy to disguise as a humanitarian project.” ~Ronald Reagan
“From compulsory healthcare, it’s a short step to all the rest of Socialism.” ~Ronald Reagan
As bad as the lack of dental care is—and, yes, I believe Olga Khazan has correctly appraised the plight of the poor—I am opposed to the government paying for dental insurance. If the government did that, it would only make the cost of dentistry higher than it already is. And, thus, shut out more and more uninsured. The government-dependent Medicaid poor would have dental coverage; the self-reliant working man would not.
The self-reliant working man could not afford the hiked prices—not of insurance, but of care. Because the government as consumer can outbuy everyone else. When the government is paying, a toilet seat can cost $600. A coffeemaker $7,600. The sky’s the limit. The ordinary consumer cannot compete with those prices.
Why do you think dentists and hygienists go into the field? For the money. To make real money, like the healthcare professionals and the defense contractors, they need the government involved.
Why do you think dentists are willing to work for free at dental charity events? To highlight the problem. To get ground support for government-funded dental insurance.
If dentists really cared about human suffering, they could do pro bono work in their own office. But they don’t. They do it at gyms and under tents where they can get some press.
If dentists really cared about human suffering, they could hang around a little longer at these marathons when they see streams of persons still standing in line. But they don’t. When an event is timed out, they abruptly pick up their bags and leave—thus showing where their heart is.
If you’re 30, 40, 50 years old, and have dental problems, it’s a little late to tell you this, but your first line of defense is YOU. Learn to take care of yourself. No one else is going to feel your pain. (Oh, the dentistry providers might be willing to use you to get what they want, but they’re not going to feel your pain.)
• Drink milk.
• Buy a toothbrush and toothpaste and brush your teeth regularly. (Beware of Proctor & Gamble. Its Crest toothpaste may contain blue polyethylene microbeads, which can become stuck in your teeth.)
• Buy some dental floss and floss after you eat. Flossing will get rid of food particles trapped between teeth.
• Gargle with mouthwash, saltwater, or warm water. Close your mouth and swish vigorously. The mouth rinse will get food particles brushing and flossing leave behind. Saltwater will take away pain. Salt will also relieve an abscess. Sugar may be bad for your teeth. Salt is good.
• Buy sugar-free gum and chew it every day to keep your mouth salivated. Saliva itself can prevent dental caries.
I heard a dentist say he’d never known anyone who practiced good dental hygiene to experience tooth loss. That is your key to a better life: YOU taking care of you.
“Be true to your teeth and they won’t be false to you.” ~Soupy Sales
Copyright © 2014 Alexandra Lee
Photo Credit: Healthy Teeth