Thursday, March 06, 2003

Have a Coke and a smile

It's like McDonald's funding studies on obesity, or La-Z-Boy underwriting research on the value of exercise: Coca Cola has donated a million bucks to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to be used for research, and will also help the academy develop educational programs on good oral health. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is already crying foul, declaring that no organization that promotes tooth decay should have any traffic with those dedicated to stopping it. They see dark intentions by the soda giant to undermine our national oral hygeine, but maybe they should be worrying less about Coke's motives and more about the dentists': After all, though they may advise against sugary snacks and drinks, there's no denying that cavities equal money in a dentist's pocket. Maybe the academy will stay on the up-and-up and not use its Coke cash to soft-pedal the dangers of tooth decay. But if you start seeing soda machines in dentists' waiting rooms and cola-spiked fluoride treatments, you'll know the fix is in.

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