“Have you been flossing?” my hygienist would ask. She’d ask a moose! I suspect she asks out of habit because only 5 to 10% of people floss daily. OK, that’s more than moose do, but hardly anything to brag about! Maybe she also asks because she can tell by looking that I don’t and she hopes to prod me into doing it.
But when the 6-month cleaning was done with the usual no cavities, I’d strut out of the office smugly thinking, “Hah, who needs to go to all that trouble with these pearly whites!”
Now, as I slink out after 4-month cleanings and extra sessions for cavities and crowns, ol’ Broose is open to the idea of flossing.
Why do dentists string us along?
1. “If you don’t floss your teeth on a daily basis, you might as well start saving up for dentures,” warns Jonathan B. Levine, DMD. So save money on dental bills.
2. Avoid plaque. Fine to have one on your wall for exemplary writing but not on your teeth.
3. Avoid tartar, cavities and gum infection. Who wouldn’t like to do without painful excavations with pickaxe, jackhammer and needles! The crown I want is at the resurrection!
4. This one sounds like scare talk hard to believe: “Extensive research has shown that the bacteria that fluorish in an unhealthy mouth can harm the rest of the body, leading to heart disease [the leading cause of death in the U.S.], diabetes [more than 25 million Americans] and respiratory illness” (“5 Reasons Why Flossing Is Extremely Important” by Matt Cunningham). Another source warns of alzheimer’s, I forget which. But that’s why dentists believe the mouth is the door to the body, and they want us to floss it when in other situations it might be just as advantageous to close it.
5. How could ol’ Broose put this one reason to floss about that last really serious one? This one might be the one that talks you into it! Food dropped between your teeth, even after brushing and mouthwash, sits there and rots, forming sulfur compounds that create a rotten egg smell, isovaleric acid that reeks like sweat, putrescine like rotten meat, skatole like human feces and cadaverine like decomposing bodies. Lovely aroma! Good thing ol’ Broose lives alone.
True confession about why I have shuddered to floss. I have this phobia that the string will get stuck in there and how would I get it out without a visit to the ER. Sometimes the hygienists really had to yank! Remember from an earlier blog, we committed to no fear? Perfect loving flossing casts it out!
Peggy Rosen, a dentist, says it’s important to floss immediately after eating. Most dentists will be happy if we rub-a-dub-dub daily. Though it’s hard to believe, flossing daily will add 6 years to our life, writes Dr. Michael Roizen in RealAge. Just what I want: 6 more years of flossing!
Now, where did I toss that floss into the drawer?
FUN FACT: Moose have long faces, but not because of sadness over bad breath. A herbivore diet helps prevent halitosis which is not a worry anyway when you live alone and never learned 1,001 ways to cook with garlic.