The Dentist, The Reader’s Digest and Colgate

The current issue of Reader’s Digest in India has a impressive looking (and if I may also add forbidding) dentist on its cover and a lead story about how a trip to a dentist can help predict all manner of disease. It is as if the dentist holds the key to deciphering all the medical problems that I may encounter in my life hereafter.

The story makes for strange reading.

Is this a surprise that a regular visit to a dentist may help detect oral cancers. I would be surprised if my dentist in today’s day and age ignored suspect looking patches in my mouth, which may later turnout to be cancerous.   

The other point that this story makes is that untreated oral infections can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. But wouldn’t you think that this may be true of any infection. An untreated infection in the foot may also fester, the infection may spread, may become gangrenous, may require serious surgery and at times may lead to septicaemia and death. What is so special about an untreated oral infection?

Unbelievably the story makes the incredible claim that the dentists during the course of routine dental examinations can spot signs of Diabetes, Heart Disease, as well as rare skin and auto immune diseases. I would love to meet a dentist who can do this. Those I have worked with for many years have no such claims to fame.

And here comes the real gem’ But the good news is that with good old regular brushing and flossing you may prevent all that. And by seeing your dentist often you can nip most problems in the bud’. For all of you who might be wondering what is so great about it, you are advised to look at the opposite page. The bright and the familiar red of a Colgate ad can hardly be missed. The ad headline reads ‘Are your clean teeth hiding signs of decay? For a Free Dental Check-Up in your neighbourhood sms…’ You get the picture now, right.

The story continues in right earnest about terrible afflictions of the gum, which can cause all manner of illnesses and of course the ad down below says ‘For a truly healthy mouth you need protection from as many as 12 teeth and gum problems’ Need I say more.

It is sad to see a venerable magazine like Readers Digest in such dire straits. I have been a reader and collector of Reader’s Digest, since when I was hardly 10 years old. The most charitable explanation that I can think of for all this is that these must be desperate times for them. After all selling ones soul is never easy.

And as far as Colgate is concerned, I can only say that they have a very bright brand manager, who thinks all of us consumers are incapable of putting two and two together and see through what this is really all about.

Pic courtesy http://www.flickr.com/cjanebuy

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3 thoughts on “The Dentist, The Reader’s Digest and Colgate

  1. Seems the trend to link dental and heart is increasing. I remember reading this in some mainstream newspapers as well.

    Did some quick search on the net and sure enough found some content…related to this.

    Who is to decide what is fact and what is fiction ?

  2. I am willing to grant that research might make it possible for dentists to peep in our mouths and figur out whether we have heart disease or not.
    My grouse is more with the Colgate ads, which make me wonder, whether the story is a plant. Something like this disturbs me in a magazine like RD.

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