vacation of the future

Dvorkin on Debt: What Dentists And Debt Have In Common

As a CPA, I enthusiastically read many studies and surveys. I find it as relaxing as other people find reading novels. Last week, I stumbled across a national poll conducted the American Academy of Periodontology (which is the fancy word for dentistry.)

According to the AAP, “27 percent of U.S. adults admit they lie to their dentist about how often they floss their teeth.” In addition, “36 percent would rather do an unpleasant activity like cleaning the toilet.”

This immediately made me think about my job.

What dentists and debt experts have in common

I sympathize with the dentists. Everyone knows the dentist is good for you, but no one likes going. Everyone knows flossing will save your teeth, but few people do it regularly.

In my line of work, everyone knows consulting a financial expert — in person or free online at sites like — are good for you, but no one likes taking the time. Everyone knows budgeting will save you money, but few people do it regularly.

Below is a quote from AAP President Joan Otomo-Corgel. Swap the word debt for oral hygiene and periodontal disease, plus the words debt expert for periodontist, and you’ll see what I mean…

“There’s clearly more work to be done when it comes to educating Americans about the importance of oral hygiene. The good news about periodontal disease is, with proper and timely care, it’s treatable and often reversible. If a person is at risk for periodontal disease, a periodontist has the training and expertise to determine the best course of treatment.”


If there was one bright side to this study for a CPA like me, it’s that 9 percent of those surveyed would rather do their taxes than floss. At least I win in that scenario, since tax debt is a huge problem I see with clients.

How to solve both cavities and cash problems

There’s no way to make it “fun” to go to the dentist or get out of debt. However, there are ways to make it easy and painless. There are cutting-edge websites like 1-800-Dentist that match you with qualified dentists in your area. In fact, that’s the same model for — except we match you with experts in the field of credit counseling, debt management, student loan consolidation, and more.

Both dentists and debt experts have to keep shouting their message: You can delay our services for a little while, and nothing bad will happen. However, put it off for too long, and the problems can grow so big, a casual cleaning won’t help. You’ll need painful and expensive procedures.

So my advice? Floss those teeth, check your budgets, and schedule regular visits.

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