Whatever happened to medical curiosity?

by unshodashish on February 23, 2012

I like my dentist, Dr. J. Compared to his predecessor (who, bizarrely, was dating my neighbor, but I digress) Dr. J has vastly better bedside manner, and my teeth have generally prospered under his care.

For a while, though, my gums weren’t doing so well, and as we now know, gum health may be related to heart health, so he had me come in for cleanings at twice the normal frequency – every three months.

Then something changed – I discovered oil pulling. I began to swish sesame oil around my mouth for ten minutes each day, and over a single three-month period, and continuing for a year now, my gum health has turned around completely – no more pockets, inflammation or bleeding. The change happened before the very eyes of Dr. J and his hygienist, A. Just this morning I was given the green light to return to a six-month schedule.

20120223-005318.jpgHere’s the thing. Given this big turnaround in the state of my gums, wouldn’t you expect a dental pro to be slightly curious as to the cause? On each of my last several visits I’ve mentioned my oil pulling regimen – which coincides exactly with my gum improvement, but Dr. J isn’t at all interested. He listens politely, but the next time has no memory – is just as surprised to see me doing better. Oil pulling wasn’t taught in dentistry school, so apparently it merits no attention or investigation.

I think you can see where I’m going with this: podiatric religion. A few podiatrists seem to be strongly emotionally invested in the war against bare feet. Fine. But what about the rest? With the growing anecdotal and increasingly scientific evidence demonstrating the health benefits of keeping our feet bare, how can so many intelligent, trained professionals turn a collective blind eye? How can it be that so many physicians whose heart is in the right place … are so unable or afraid to look up from the script they received in their long-ago training? When the theoretical box is falling apart at the seams, does the standard of care not require looking outside that box – as a duty to the patient?


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