As dental professionals in a science-based field, sharing knowledge with patients is serious business.

Shared laughter – a dose of humor – can be equally important, in the right setting. One educator – Steven Austad, Chair of the Biology Department at the University of Alabama, did just that in a recent column for

Austad, whose bio describes him as  enjoying “enjoys nothing more than communicating how science works to the general public” recently created a point system to help you calculate the “Snake Oil Score” for your favorite “natural” supplement.


World exhibition building in Chicago – United States 1893 / vintage illustration from Brockhaus Konversations-Lexikon 1908

In his public service message, the former newspaper reporter, Hollywood wild animal trainer and New York City cab driver, who now spends his days as a research scientist, invoked some history: the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Clark Stanley’s Snake Oil Liniment, and the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906.

Find out how he put it all together in his column and take his quiz: