Economic Multipliers (114)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

‘Only one way’ is not an economic multiplier.


I was going to write: Toothpicks are an economic multiplier.

If you do not usually have and/or use a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss, this piece is written for you: Take care of your teeth.

Health care is an interesting thing. It has multiple components:

  • Genetic luck: some people are simply born with ‘heartier’ genes than other people

  • Local luck: some communities, states and nations are better at helping people stay healthy than others: food, water, sanitation, access to health care, local toxins and air quality all factor in

  • Parental luck: parents who support good health for their children through exercise and a good diet make their children ‘luckier’ … and luckier still if the environment is smoke-free, drug-free, excess alcohol free and relatively peaceful, supportive and even fun

  • Experiential luck: experiences you have and the people you meet make a difference

  • Educational luck: it helps to know how to maintain your health because you learned it somewhere along the way

  • Personal luck: some things are much more affordable to some individuals than others just because they have more resources and income

  • Decision-based luck: you could live in the perfect environment, have all the money you’d ever need, know exactly what to do and still not do it

I try to take care of my teeth so if I live to be 100 years old (a genetically good set of well-cared-for teeth should easily last that long), I’ll let you know how that worked out.

In the meantime, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there are a number of alternatives to toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss. Baking soda is found in toothpaste and used by many people as toothpaste. Some people brush with salt but (clean) saltwater is less abrasive and also anti-bacterial.

In the absence of a toothbrush, a clean cloth wrapped over a finger can make a difference.

In the absence of dental floss, toothpicks have been used for generations and many pocket knives contain a plastic toothpick. You wouldn’t want to use anything metal (unless you’re a dentist).

A mouthwash of salty (saline) water is better than nothing at all.

Africa has a toothpick tree. I found that out as I was learning a bit more about dental care: Imagine a toothpick not only cleaning plaque off the teeth but helping prevent the formation of it as you did so.

Salvadora Persica is so interesting as a tree that I’d encourage you to look it up if you have an interest in trees: It provides a window into all the products a tree might be used for: animal fodder, charcoal, toothpicks, toothbrushes, medicine, food, varnish, and more.

It is unlikely that the toothpicks you’d buy in the United States are made with this tree but another good reason for taking care of your teeth … however you decide to do it … is that if your gums ever become infected, that infection can spread throughout your body, potentially harming you in other ways.

If you search online, you’ll find many tips for taking care of your teeth and many compounds that are considered anti-bacterial. When you’re not a dental expert (I am not), it’s best to leave everything to the experts.

Dentists have never figured out a way to get everyone to take care of their teeth: They’d probably have an easier time doing so if dental care was always included when people bought health insurance.

Someday it might be included IF everyone can be convinced that they have a responsibility to take care of their teeth and gums AND help everyone else take care of theirs.

The ‘luck’ that you have the greatest control over is ‘decision-based luck.’ It’s never too late to get a good start.