Sunday, December 28, 2008

Flossing And The Glare Of The Doctor

Yglesias is surely right about this:
A general practitioner who develops an effective method of nudging people toward quitting smoking or exercising more during his brief post-checkup chats would save many more lives at dramatically lower cost than would all of Dr House’s heroics.
I only took up flossing a couple years ago, after withering under the disapproving glares of oral hygenists who had been prodding my gums with that pokey thing. It's kept me free of dental issues for as long as I've been doing it. (I've actually come to enjoy it, because the minty floss is kind of yummy.) Anyway, I hope that whatever fixes we design for the health care system result in the doctor's glare hitting more people who need it. There are lots of reasons why poor people are often overweight, including the high calorie density of cheap foods, but I'd imagine that their inability to buy time with doctors who will put pressure on them to adopt more healthy habits is part of the story.


Anonymous said...

I worked in medical research for about five years and among the physicians I worked with I doubt any of them would have suggested lifestyle change to a patient. The first choice would be a drug that might offsett the effects of a poor diet or lack of excercise the next choice would probably be some sort of surgery. Modern medicine at least in America is not about getting people to make the right choices it is about doing something for a patient.

BrioII said...

I also took up flossing a while ago. But, I did it with a Gripit Floss Holder because I did not like putting my fingers into my mouth. You can see Gripits in action at