Battlepanda: A public good


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A public good

Mark Kleiman reports that scientists now think it is feasible to develop a vaccine against cavities. How much would you pay for no cavities ever, Mark wondered. $50 a year? Heck, how can you put a dollar amount on not having a drill grinding inside your mouth milimeters away from nerves? I admit it. I have a sweet tooth. Am not a good flosser. As a result, I have bad teeth. Multiple fillings (mercury -- gulp!) and even a tooth on deck for the ol' root canal. At 25. If it's available now and I can somehow go back in time to administer it to the baby Angelica, you bet I'd pay through the nose for no cavities ever.

Sadly, the long clinical trials required (longer than the patents) probably means that no pharmaceutical companies will ever take on this project. A perfect example of where it makes sense for the gubmint to take over?

Finally, Mark noted, and I agree that the organized Dental community behave like absolute champs. You'd think it wouldn't be in the interest of dentists to get water flouridated and get us all to floss, but they're fanatical about it. Scarily fanatical. In fact, just thinking about the collective frowning faces of my dentist and dental hygenist is enough to get me flossing right now.