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Friday, April 04, 2003


British Spin says the following about private dentistry in the UK:

Soon the wealthy will look at the poor and notice how terrible their teeth are. They will mention it in newspaper articles and shudder inwardly when the poor talk. It will be used as yet another social divide, like Glaswegian accents, or cheap clothes, being seen as a sign of stupidity and a lack of sophistication- a legitimate target for snobbery, a sign of poor taste.

He adds to this argument here. Jane Galt, on the other hand, responding to something else, says this about the oral health of the United States:

[O]ne thing you can't tell people's wealth by, in the dog-eat-dog dystopia that is America, is their teeth. Their sports gear, their vacations, their choice of dinner spot, yes, but not their teeth, at least not where I am. And one thing that Americans abroad comment on is that, at least superficially, we all seem to have better teeth than most Europeans. (It does vary quite a bit by country.) Yet all the European countries have national health care. How come our poor people have better teeth than Britain's middle class, when they have nationalized health care?

I have terrible teeth (partly because I pathologically detest flossing), which I just spent a lot of money (part NHS/part private) getting fixed. As the slogan goes, though, we report; you decide.

UPDATE: Kevin Drum (CalPundit) has more, and there is a lively discusion in Jane Galt's comments.