September 9, 2004

Silly String

May we discuss flossing for a moment?

I don't want my teeth to fall out, but Holy Christ, what a pain in the ass. I understand that flossing is important, but I don't understand why it has to suck so hard. Pulling a dumbass string between my teeth, making me drool all over the place and making my jaw hurt for two days.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong, or it's the shape of my mouth, or it's because I still have all my wisdom teeth packed in there, but I swear I hate every second of it.

Are you people really doing this every day? Be honest. If you are, maybe you can guilt me into joining you in this ridiculous ritual-- which could very well have been invented by the Dental Floss Makers Union in the first place.

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Comments

Do all the crap between your teeth pop out onto the mirror?

Posted by: Scottor at September 9, 2004 8:52 AM

I only do it every week or so. I do like how the tight string turns my finger purple though.

Posted by: Bwotty at September 9, 2004 9:03 AM

I floss every time i eat corn on the cob, so it adds up to about 3-4 times a year.

I too am a big fan of the purple finger effect, ive always wondered if i flossed my whole mouth w/o giving it a break if it would turn black and fall off... i find it best to just not floss and keep all of my digits in tact.

Posted by: asmostopheles at September 9, 2004 9:07 AM

So here's the thing I never really flossed that often and my dentist never said anything about me needing to floss more untill I decided to floss more then he goes "you really need to keep flossing more often" bizzar much?
Anway if you want to make it easier Reach makes this toothbrush lookin handel ting that hold a floss...bow looking thing it makes it way easier to floss and kinda cool too, you might want to try it, good luck!

Posted by: Mallory at September 9, 2004 9:08 AM

I never flossed much until my dentist recently told me that my teeth were really suffering from a lack of it. As he put it, "you don't have to floss all your teeth everyday, just the ones you want to keep." Smartass.

Posted by: Erich at September 9, 2004 9:32 AM

I floss whatever teeth I can reach without sticking my fist in my mouth. Which is about the front five. Which is al anyone sees, anyway.

Posted by: Ice Queen at September 9, 2004 9:36 AM

My husband started flossing 6 months ago. He does it at least once a day - religiously. His teeth have NEVER looked better!

Me on the other hand, once every other week. My teeth have so little space between them that I've actually gotten the floss STUCK between my teeth. What do I do then? Floss more to get the floss out? I have no idea.

Posted by: Amy at September 9, 2004 9:38 AM

I floss nightly - when my husband doesn't use up all the floss and not tell me that it needs to be replaced.

As a kid, I used to dislike flossing because, like you, I hated driving it down between my teeth. My dentist has since shown me an easier way: slide the floss down the side of one tooth, and up the side of the other. You scrape off the gunk and the floss moves through more easily.

By the bye, are you using waxed? That moves better than non-waxed.

Posted by: April at September 9, 2004 9:47 AM

Flossing is like taking a jackhammer to my mouth. Hate it. Just an occasional floss for me.

Posted by: Strode at September 9, 2004 9:48 AM

I used to do it rarely. But ever since my last dentist visit where I was spitting out bloody gum fragments like I'd been in the ring with Mike Tyson, I do it every day. Pain in the sphincter, yes. But so's sucking runny gruel through a straw.

Posted by: akio at September 9, 2004 9:51 AM

I just heard somewhere recently that you can use Listorine in lew of flossing. I hope that's true cuz flossing is a pain in the big ol behind. It's probably just on some Listorine commercial though. crap.

Posted by: Aubrey at September 9, 2004 10:07 AM

I've found guilt to be a motivator. I floss everyday for, like, two weeks before the dentist's visit. Then the girl says "Wow, you've done a great job flossing." And I think, geez, it's all about appearances.

Although, I usually do floss after corn on the cob too.

Posted by: jenny at September 9, 2004 10:08 AM

I never flossed until I went to the dentist one day and had like three cavities. Now I floss every night and enjoy the little things (as stated above) like my purple finger and the mirror getting covered in little globs of who-knows-what. I still don't really know how effective it is but I like to think I'm doing my part to save my teeth. Also the tiny burst of cinnamon is always a treat.

Posted by: Lizzy at September 9, 2004 10:09 AM

I floss every night mainly because I am afraid of the dentist. I used to not do it, and paid the price. The problem was I have a tiny mouth and XL hands. So, using regular floss wasn't fun. So, I started using those green flosspicks, but they weren't great for back teeth.

Now I use the Reach flosser. I highly recommend it for people who have a hard time flossing back in the molars:

http://www.jnjoralhealth.com/reachaccess/

It's that perpendicular head thing that makes it easy. They also have a motorized version, but I don't really see the point to that.

Posted by: The Matt at September 9, 2004 10:09 AM

Oh, BTW, you will pay to use that Reach flosser. It costs like $5 every month for refills, but I figure that's a whole lot less than fillings and the like.

Posted by: The Matt at September 9, 2004 10:11 AM

I apologize for the bad spelling in my previous post... that would be ListErine, not ListOrine.

Posted by: Aubrey at September 9, 2004 10:12 AM

I floss once or twice a day. At first, it is no fun, but if you do it regularly, it gets easier, even if you have teeth that are seemingly close together.

April is right, you should wriggle the floss down one side and bring it up on the other. If you just jam the floss down onto your gums, its not going to help as much.

I heard that about Listerine, and I don't believe it, because I swish with Listerine every day and I still notice a big difference when I floss.

Try being committed about it for like, two weeks...you'll like it. Plus, I read somewhere that the plaque between your teeth can actually be detrimental to your heart...

Happy Flossing! :o)

Posted by: k at September 9, 2004 10:16 AM

Yes, I know flossing is supposedly good for your teeth and gums...but so is pop and candy. The one thing I like to do is floss really hard after a year of not doing it so you look like you're hemorrhaging from your mouth. It's a cool effect!!

Posted by: Mari at September 9, 2004 10:16 AM

I have braces...flossing is a HUGE pain in the ass. Aside from the normal jamming it down between my very closely spaced teeth, i have to feed that thread through my brackets. It's like threading a needle in your mouth. With a mirror. I have a hard time threading a needle when its in front of my face in the right direction.

Suggestion. Teledyne waterpik. It shoots a jet of water to clean out your teeth, between, by the gumline, etc. I've never used one, but my buddy says they are great. Just a bit messy. Probably good before the shower.

Posted by: Scotticus at September 9, 2004 11:05 AM

I too hate to floss, that is until I discovered "Floss on a stick!" Which is the reach access thingy.

No more purple fingers, gross stuff on your hands..
gone. I actually floss once a day now with it.

To make things even cooler, they have a MOTORIZED version of the Reach Access.
Now I don't even have to move it!
Just stick it between my teeth and let the motorized floss on a stick do the work!

Posted by: Mike at September 9, 2004 11:48 AM

I've flossed every nite for like the last 5 years. Don't worry... the bleeding stops after the first couple of years or so. Now I've got gums of steel. I can chew anything -- shards of glass, syringes, Captain Crunch cereal. You name it. You've gotta go with the mint, unwaxed Glide, by the by. It just slides, nay, glides between one's teeth like... well, much like a Cottonelle Pre-Moistened Wipe glides betwixt one's soiled buttocks. Flossing! Yeah!

Posted by: chocky at September 9, 2004 12:06 PM

With regards to the bloody gums after a dentist's visit... that used to happen to me everytime they flossed me after the cleaning. I started using an electric toothbrush (Sonicare) and no... I still don't floss. But subsequent visits to the dentist did not result in bloody gums anymore. Plus there was hardly any plaque to scrape! The hygenist was impressed with the state of my non-bloodied gums. W00t!

Posted by: Katareina at September 9, 2004 12:07 PM

Not to dereail the subject at hand, but since it has just surfaced again in the previous message, and since I'm lame -- can someone explain the whole "W00t!" phenomenon to me?

I swear, you kids and your crazy talk. I can't keep up.

Posted by: Steve at September 9, 2004 12:14 PM

My dentist, the George Clooney of Dentristy, advises that although Listerine does wonderful things, it should not actually *replace* flossing.

My recommendation: Get a supafly dentist. It motivates you to floss, etc. so the Doctor is impressed and will maybe consider sleeping with you. It's worked for me...

PS Did you know dentists can prescribe Valium? I really, really <3 my dentist.

Posted by: Nicola at September 9, 2004 12:27 PM

As Uncle Frank said :

'I might be movin' to Montana soon
Just to raise me up a crop of
Dental Floss

Raisin' it up
Waxen it down
In a little white box
That I can sell uptown ... '

Posted by: Doug at September 9, 2004 12:30 PM

To paraphrase the peerless Mitch Hedburg:

"People tell me that I don't know how hard it is to quit smoking. Yes I do -- it's as hard as it is to start flossing."

I floss at least thrice-weekly and my teeth and gums are happier as a result.

Posted by: Chris at September 9, 2004 12:37 PM

Funny you should bring this up...I was just at the dentist on Tuesday and I have three "flossing decay" cavaties (not counting the tooth way in the back that is falling apart after two fillings. they want to do a crown. fuck that). I of course lied and said I floss every day...when in reality I do a couple times a month.

The quality of my teeth has gotten worse as I get older. It's not that I eat a lot of sugery stuff, cuz I honestly don't. I grew up on non-flouride induced well water and a "swish" program at school only loser kids participated in. Therefore, my teeth need extra care now.

It's a true pain in the ass. I gag almost every time I floss. I even bought one of those Reach floss thingies (which is decent, you should try it). However, my impending dental bill of around $400 should make me (and YOU) want to floss more often.

Best of luck!

Posted by: Stacia at September 9, 2004 12:48 PM

Steve--
W00T, or w00tah as I am much accustomed to using is the geek equivalent of YAY, or
woo-hoo! Merely an exclamation of happiness or glee.

Posted by: Susan at September 9, 2004 1:05 PM

Why does the gunk always have to end up on the mirror! Why, oh why?!! Ewwww! So do all you flossers wipe it (the mirror) down every night? Does the Reach thingy get around this problem somehow?
Teach me now. Let me learn your ways.

Posted by: felix at September 9, 2004 1:33 PM

I floss when I remember to. Sadly, that isn't very often. I was NOT impressed with the Reach flosser thing, the big plastic floss holder bit is too large for my mouth. So, it's back to the *plain* string for me. Maybe I'm not doing it right though, 'cause I don't have unidentified bits hurtling themelves towards my mirror.

Posted by: Susan at September 9, 2004 1:39 PM

@Susan,

Have you tried the Oral-B flosser? Some people I know that don't like the Reach, like it. It's a different shape:

http://www.shavercentre.com/braun_7049.html

Posted by: The Matt at September 9, 2004 2:28 PM

I'm with the handful of other folk who have had painful experiences at the dentist due to bloody gums. When the lady wipes the little tool on my bib, and it's completely covered with chunks of my bloody gums, I'm horrified. I also have the experience of spitting out blood whenever I brush my teeth. My dentist's recommendations (for the past 5 years): FLOSS!!

They even gave me a handy dandy little Reach Flosser thingy. Which I used for about a week afterwards. Sure, it's a lot easier than regular floss. But I'm just a lazy ass who couldn't be bothered with messing with that every night.

Posted by: Emily at September 9, 2004 2:47 PM

Yeah - only floss the ones you want to keep.

I am a regular flosser (5x per week, or roughly the number of nights I go to bed sober) - and I used waxed mint floss. YUM!

Dental TAPE is a medieval torture device. Who has tooth gaps that big - and if you did, why the hell would you use floss and not, say, the end of a broom handle to clean between your pearls?

Reach flosser works GREAT on the back teeth, but tends to drop between the front ones too quickly causing a painful gum gash. Not so fun when you douse it with Listerine afterwards. But the blood spilling over your bottom lip looks kinda cool.

A clean mouth is a happy fuckin' mouth!

Posted by: crackahoa at September 9, 2004 2:48 PM

I floss every day and I enjoy it because I'm missing a tooth (you can't tell) all my teeth re-aligned themselves and I have a small gap between each tooth, so flossing is easy for me.
I can also advise you to use good floss, not the cheap kind.

Posted by: EB at September 9, 2004 3:15 PM

I have been rather blessed with really resilient teeth. In all my 17 years of inattention to them I've only ever had one very small cavity. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and drink tons of milk, and my dentist said that along with genes and flouridated water, I may have just lucked out. As time goes by, however I'm sure the situation will not be so easy.

I intend to start taking better care of my teeth, however. Flossing never attracted me as something useful to do for my teeth because they've really never bother me, but I would like to take better care of my gums. No gum tidbits on my dental bib thingie for me.

Congratulations commenters, you've convinced me to go floss.

Posted by: Erin at September 9, 2004 3:53 PM

Does anyone else just floss when they have meat or other food stuck in their teeth?

My teeth are spaced and straight naturally. So if I eat steak or pork chops I get clumps stuck in the spaces. That's when I floss.

Also, because of the spaces, I don't have the best smile. I wish I would have had braces when I was a kid so they weren't so spaced, but my dentist didn't think I needed 'em because they were straight.

In short, if I could afford it, I would be happy with a nice pair of dentures. Even though I'm only in my 20's it seems like it'd be cool to have a nice smile that I could take out of my mouth to clean everynight.

Posted by: bleedin gums murphy at September 9, 2004 4:05 PM

Okay, here's my thing, my dentist is a friggin ass monkey. He's absolutely horrendously useless. 1. When I was little I had big ol bunt spaced teeth from sucking my thumb too much, and he never suggested braces or commented on it, 2. when I was little I NEVER brushed my teeth (I was a nasty little kid, yeh) but went to the dentist every six months, before which I'd brush my teeth...so I probably brushed like once a month quite literally xD He never said anything about THAT. And now after eighteen years of going to the dentist and coming out with the battle wounds and lost pint of blood, NOW one of the evil minion assistant ladies says something about the benefits of flossing. I'm too lazy to look up tooth hygiene and crap, that's their job, how was I supposed to know I was supposed to be flossing? o_O Friggin bastards.

So yeh, been flossing for about a month now, it sucks. I just moved into dorms at college though and my roommate's always around, and we have common bathrooms, so it's kind of hard finding an opportune time to drive a string between your teeth when people aren't watching. You know, like some privacy for the flying debris onto the mirror.

The weird thing is that with all my neglect that I've never had any cavities, toothaches or stains, and they simply straightened themselves out when I cut down on thumbsuckingness. I therefore think the whole dentist industry is a sham :)

Posted by: Kati at September 9, 2004 4:06 PM

I despise flossing the old-fashioned way, but I've found that the little floss picks help immensely. I'm still too lazy to do it every day, but I certainly floss more often that I used to.

It's funny. Anywhere else in the world, open discussion of personal hygeine habits, such as flossing and usage of a bidet, would be impolite. But not here. Thank you, Steve, for giving us a forum for the discussion of teeth and butts.

Posted by: nosleep3 at September 9, 2004 4:20 PM

I HATE flossing. I ave a retainer that is bonded to my teeth for life, so I will always have to use special floss to thread it through my damn teeth like a needle (just like one of the above commentors said) and it's such a pain. So I probably end up doing it once or twice a week (if even that). y husband flosses every day though, since he got his teeth all fixed up. Before that he couldn't be bothered. Go figure.

Posted by: Carrie Jo at September 9, 2004 4:28 PM

Floss is for suckers

Posted by: Baron Von Pandersnatch at September 9, 2004 4:44 PM

Am I the only one who started flossing after reading these comments? Anyway - I tend to floss if I'm stuck in traffic. That happens about once a week or so.

Posted by: Rengirl at September 9, 2004 4:51 PM

Try Glide Floss. It makes a big difference if your teeth are tight like mine. I used to get the floss stuck and rip it on a regular basis before I discovered this stuff. I started about a year ago now and HATED it at first. I was motivated by about $1800 worth of dental work I needed to have done that might otherwise have been prevented. Also, one of my friends had to have her gums planed. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but it sounded HORRIFIC. My dentist explained how if you don't floss, you get little pockets of bacteria around your gum line and this damages and irritates your gums. Then when you do floss (or the dentist does it for you), you disturb this inflamation and your gums bleed. If you floss regularly, you'll eventually eliminate the bacteria, the inflamation and the blood (for me it was after about 2 weeks of flossing every night). I still have to force myself to do it almost every night, but I've gotten so I don't like the feel of my teeth if I don't do it and that helps. As far as the gobs go, 1. they get much less substantial when you're a regular flosser and 2. don't pull the floss out so hard! There's no need to be jamming it in and ripping it out.

Posted by: Kim at September 9, 2004 5:22 PM

I started flossing every night probably 5 years ago. After a few weeks there was never any bleeding anymore. One tip for you guys: to avoid cutting off the circulation in your fingers, wrap floss around two fingers instead of only one. That way no one fingertip will be cut off from blood flow.

Also if your gums are especially sensitive, there is a type of floss that is less like a garrote and more like soft yarn and it still works great. I think J&J makes it.

Posted by: Dave at September 9, 2004 6:48 PM

Mmm. I love floss. I never remember to do it, mind you, but I love it with all the power of my heart.

And all this about Listerine taking the place of flossing? No way. If you've seen the commercial (with the guys dressed up as listerine, a toothbrush and floss) then the next time you watch it, read the line at the bottom while the Listerine guy says that he can be used in place of flossing and it works just as well. It says something to the effect of "Listerine should not be used in place of flossing. Floss twice daily as part of your regular tooth care ritual." Or something to that effect. Seriously.

Posted by: Dianne at September 9, 2004 7:45 PM

I refuse to believe that this many people floss.

Posted by: Xander at September 9, 2004 9:24 PM

i am sure someone else has said this, but i am too lazy to read all the comments. anyway, i went to the dentist on thursday, and i had no plaque - i told the lady that i used listerine twice a day and she told me that's the reason i have no plaque. i also floss once a day, but i think the listerine is more effective. so, since you hate flossing, just swish with listerine. but make sure you do it for the full 30 seconds; otherwise, it's not going to do as much for your teeth!

Posted by: illyana at September 9, 2004 9:44 PM

I'm one of those people who likes to chew on things inadvertantly while reading, so floss doesnt make it long in my house. The last time I had it, I popped the spool out of the case, grabbed a book, and chewed on the waxy thing until all the mint flavor was gone... weird...
this probably doesnt count as flossing, does it?

Posted by: brandy at September 9, 2004 10:17 PM

I have been flossing when going to bed sober.

To prevent the awful "floss getting stuck in between teeth which is even stupider than a pork chop stuck in between teeth" scenario, I use the more expensive glide floss or something like that. It's a LOT stronger than the normal floss, and also feels better.

I think the waterpik is a freaking medieval torture device. Tried using it when i had braces and i swear to god i bled like a nepalese hostage.

In other news, woot! is another example of 3li+3 sp3ak (elite speak). which is a stupid geek/nerd/gamer of intentionally spelling words with symbols. other examples include saying hax0rz for "hackers"; p0wn3d, which i guess means you have been pounded or owned by someone while playing an online game; and "pr0n," which is a way of saying porn without incurring the wrath of censorship bots or people googling for nasty stuff.

Posted by: alexdagrate at September 10, 2004 1:01 AM

I am overall just lazy about dental hygiene so I bought into that infomercial and bought that sonic toothbrush set thing. It has a toothbrush and like a mechanized flossing attachment and this tongue cleaner. Makes all of that relatively easy. Takes me like 5min to brush, floss, and do that tongue crap. And they send me replacement brushes every few months for free.

And regarding w00t or wewt or woot... it simply is faster to type in the middle of a fragfest and doesn't look as retarded as woohoo or yay!

Think of it this way, in normal everyday activity:

Woohoo = Raise your arms and say woohoo!
Yay = Say Yaaaaaaayyy
Woot = Single fist pump and say woot

It's simple and I suppose it's "manlier".

Posted by: keLston at September 10, 2004 2:04 AM

I don't floss, but I'm british, and apparently we have awful teeth anyway. Personally, I have really nice teeth but due to genetic defecting have no enamel on the adult back molars, hence my teeth look all well and good when I grin, but if I laugh, you get a face full of shiny metal. Great. I might as well rinse my mouth with coca-cola, it won't make any difference. hooray for genetic defects. And delicious Covent Garden soups for consumption when I am 30 and have no teeth.
l33t.

Posted by: AngelCat at September 10, 2004 6:13 AM

PS. I used to spend a lot of time on IRC and 0wn3d a lot of people. :) I was younger then.
I've never referred to myself as a h4x0r but only an idiot would. I'm more about cracking than hacking.
Words we used to use:
ghey = homosexual
l33t = elite, or just damned cool
kthx = ok, thanks, or I'm right and you're wrong
ph33r = fear
pron = common typo when you're trying to write "stop messaging me I'm trying to watch porn"

Posted by: AngelCat at September 10, 2004 6:18 AM

Fellow Sneezians, Steve was supposed to post with new news on the tree brain by now. I have reason to believe the brain has now formed cognitive powers and become aware of Steves' plans for it. The trees roots, which may reach the depths of Hell istself, have become a portal for ...
TABONGA!!!!

Posted by: felix at September 10, 2004 6:33 AM

OK.. so I, like many others, have a genetic problem where I produce plaque like crazy so I've got to be METICULOUS about my dental care. This means, Rotadent, toothbrush with paste, floss (night only) and swish with chlorohexadine every other day. Takes me about 5 minutes for the whole routine.

Flossing is my friend. My fave so far is the floss they give me at the dentist's office, G.U.M., but I can't find it in the stores. That Glide stuff is too slick for me. I don't feel like it's doing anything.

Posted by: Tiffanie at September 10, 2004 6:56 AM

I hate flossing.....

I loved your "try new foods that might kill you" posts. Do you take suggestions? ;)

Posted by: infertile gourmet at September 10, 2004 7:33 AM

Recently the American Dental Association released a report saying that using mouthwash is just as effective as flossing. BUT THEY STILL SAY YOU SHOULD FLOSS! If you can use mouthwash instead — what in the hell do you need to floss for?

Posted by: hugo at September 10, 2004 7:38 AM

i got into the habit of daily flossing when I had braces. You can look at kids with braces and tell they don't floss by how fucked their gums look.

Posted by: Rachael at September 10, 2004 7:43 AM

It's weird, some people don't need to floss often... but if I skip it during my nightly ablutions, I wake up the next day and all of my teeth are scattered over my pillow. I too hate sticking my hands in my mouth (how do I know where they've been?), so for years I've been using a GUM Flossmate (see one at the very bottom of http://english.jbutler.com/con_locations.asp?nCategory_ID=62). Stores around here carry them in the toothbrush area. It makes flossing very easy and fast, and I can use whatever floss I want. I tend to stick with waxed floss, because some of my teeth are tight against each other, and regular floss just shreds. Here's the trick with the Flossmate: wrap the floss twice around the post, and slightly squeeze together the prongs while winding the floss between them and back to the post for 3 finish winds: this give you tight floss that makes usage easier. And I always heard that using mouthwash too much is bad, but I don't use it a lot because it burns, and is just too irritating when I'm tired (this being before bed, and in the morning, the times when I attend to dental issues).

Posted by: WanjiSan at September 10, 2004 8:11 AM

The secret is to use one of those things that emulates your fingers and holds the floss for you. With my fat fingers, I am completely unable to floss the old '90s way, but now I am able to do it every day, which is great, 'cause if'n I don't, the twice-yearly cleaning are really painful!

Posted by: Dave at September 10, 2004 8:22 AM

Try useing BONG WATER, swish it around in your mouth like mouth wash it kills all the germs! and leaves your mouth hemp fresh!

Posted by: Bong Man at September 10, 2004 8:40 AM

I can proudly say I do not put on make-up whilst driving.... BUT I have been known to 'floss while driving!'

Posted by: FlarnChef at September 10, 2004 9:42 AM

My husband has had all kinds of problems with his teeth in the last several years and was always dreading his check-ups. After the last round of work he had done, they told him he really needed to floss *twice a day*. OMG, twice a day? But he did it. Guess what? His last check-up was a couple of weeks ago, and there was nothing wrong with any of his teeth. He's convinced it was the flossing twice daily.

I wish I could say this turn of events has gotten me better about flossing, but alas, it hasn't. I've been trying to do it more lately because I have an appointment to have my teeth coming up next week, but even with that as motivation, it's only every few days that I remember it.

Posted by: Tracie at September 10, 2004 10:01 AM

See - like I said guilt is my great motivator. Bought one of those floss on a stick things today. Take that gingivitis.

Posted by: jenny at September 10, 2004 11:21 AM

I think the whole "mouthwash is just as effective as flossing" thing is about removing plaque. The other benefit of flossing, however, is that it gets out those hunks of food which are caught in your teeth.

Everyone has had something jammed between their teeth that took a ton of probing with their tongue, rinsing, or flossing to get out. That's just the stuff you *feel*. Imagine all the stuff you don't (which is what you wind up spraying on the mirror).

Posted by: w0nka at September 10, 2004 12:54 PM

I never flossed as a kid, tween, teen, or young adult. Then one day, I learned that people that floss daily live an average of 7 years longer than them what don't. 7 years?! To put that in perspective, cigarettes take off about the same amount of time from your life.

Apparently, flossing keeps your gums healthy and disease free, so when you get to be an old codger, you don't have resivoirs of death waiting to get you when you're nice and frail.

Plus, major points for not having dog breath.

Posted by: spikeyteeth at September 10, 2004 12:56 PM

I am a binge flosser. I'll floss for weeks at a time, and then it peters off for a while. But it is definitely worth it for the mouthfeel alone. I also use a Sonicare which, for all you non-flossers, should be as mandatory as the Listerine. Expensive ($60/year for replacement heads, as well), but my teeth don't even feel clean to me anymore if I use a regular brush.

About the arteries, it is indeed true that plaque from your gums harbors bacteria that encourage the development of plaque in the arteries. It's even worse if you only floss once in a while, since your inflict more trauma, creating more wounds that allow more of those nasty bacteria that are more in number due to the weeks or months they've been able to multiply more. Then again, just eating or brushing has a similar effect, so maybe you should just start flossing all the time, you will indeed reduce your risk of heart disease.

Posted by: dillybravo at September 10, 2004 2:42 PM

Flossing is so not 1337.

I tried a few times and gave up.

Posted by: Odin at September 10, 2004 4:00 PM

I used to never floss until I went to the dentist and he sent me to the periodontist, what a sadistic group of a**holes these guys are, while measuring the depth of my "pockets" the guy continually insulted my flossing habits, or lack there of. BTW- your pockets are measured by poking the gums with a sharp awl like instrument.
I still don't floss like I should, i've just acepted I am going to loose some teeth, and feel an incredible amount of pain and discomfort while I wait.

Posted by: mike e at September 10, 2004 5:16 PM

I floss twice a day now even though once is all that is needed. The more you floss the easier it gets.

Posted by: Kayla at September 10, 2004 5:41 PM

My dentist told me NOT to floss. He said it's worthless, because it is almost impossible to get down below the gumline with floss and open the pockets where the bacteria thrive, especially in the back.

Instead, he got me on Stim-u-Dent sticks. They're basically fancy toothpicks that separate the gums from the teeth and open the pockets. Scrape the gums for thirty seconds after brushing, then clean away the bacteria with mouthwash.

My gums no longer bleed. I'm happy.

Posted by: Rob at September 10, 2004 11:26 PM

I just got a bag of those little things that have floss on them that you can hold and use without shoving your hand down your throat.

I have a quick gag reflex so I have to be careful or I could floss and then block chuncks and that would ruin the brushed teeth...

Posted by: Micah at September 11, 2004 9:59 PM

All of dentistry is a fluke, I swear.

You know why your gums bleed at the dentist? It's because that bastard is shoving sharp metal things into them. Oh no, I have corn stuck in my teeth, better get it out with a steak knife.

Flossing is the same thing. They tell you to floss not because it's good for you but because they can go home and giggle amongst themselves. Lololololllol I made 5 people feel bad enough to shove their fists in their mouth trying to mess with a piece of string.

I bet your dentist owns stock of OralB or some other popular dental company because they know you'll buy the disposable flosser things because your hand wasn't made to fit in your mouth.

Posted by: keLston at September 12, 2004 12:04 AM

I've got a waterpik i dont recall what brand it is, but anyhow they work well, and as long as you use it while standing over the sink you're good to go. otherwise the water you're shooting in there drools out or you gotta swallow it which can be gross.
i use the waterpik cause i have braces, and flossing's a bitch. and my dentist nags me about it all the time, but since i got the waterpik she's been amazed at how much better my teeth are lookin. and i took good care of them before i got the pik, now they look even better!

---excuse the piss poor grammer :p

Posted by: Sabrina at September 12, 2004 12:52 AM

I still think floss is for suckers

Posted by: Baron Von Pandernsnatch at September 12, 2004 1:09 PM

I never floss, and when I went to the dentist a few years ago, they told me I had like 11 cavities, and they were all between my teeth. So, before AND immediately after I got them filled, I was flossing like a mofo. Now...I never floss.
You think I would have learned my damn lesson, but it's such a pain!!!!!

Posted by: Kristen at September 14, 2004 11:43 AM

Try using Glide brand, Steve. The extra-sensitive kind works best. I was floosing every day, but stopped when I got my lip pierced.

Posted by: Isela at September 15, 2004 1:19 PM

I meant to say flossing. Although, I usually dress like a floozy when I do it.

Posted by: Isela at September 15, 2004 1:20 PM

Hey! Nice photo of the old guy flossing his dentures! Lemme guess...you grabbed it from Photodisc's V40 Health and Medicine 2 collection, no? :-) (Image #40130.)

I use these magic things called "Plackers," I think, that are essentially the whole "floss on a stick" thing. They kick butt and beat the crap out of gangrenous fingers.

Posted by: Giblet at September 16, 2004 12:07 PM

I would have sworn that was Ed Asner after some corn on the cob, but I motion that it's switched out for a pic of Isela flossin'.

Posted by: felix at September 16, 2004 3:45 PM

About seven years ago I became immune to the patronizing speech I get everytime I visit the hygenist, about how I should floss more. Sorta the same way I now feel about panhandlers and Celebrity 'News' TV shows.

Posted by: Pfresh Pfish at September 16, 2004 10:23 PM

Have you guys tried the Glide brand floss picks/floss? Soft rubber tape - way friendlier to the ol' bluddy gums.

Posted by: Gen at September 20, 2004 4:30 PM

I floss twice a day. Having been born with the wrong genes (and wrong jeans, but that's another story) and watched my mother lose all her teeth at about my current age, I decided to rebel and do the right thing. It still didn't prevent me from needing $3500 worth of periodontal work a couple of years ago, but at least I still have those teeth.

As the sign on my dentist's wall says, "Ignore your teeth and they'll go away."

Posted by: dailykos at September 23, 2004 12:40 PM

My husband and I like to call that stuff that leaps out of your mouth and lands on your mirror "Floss Flak."

Posted by: The Hoobie at September 24, 2004 8:56 AM

I do not have a dental background however, I do work in the dental industry and this is what I was told...."Go home and floss tonight and after you flossed your molars, smell the floss."

FYI: Just in case there was any doubt left...my time here at this company has showed me that, yes, all dentists ARE sick mother fuckers.

Posted by: Jen at September 24, 2004 10:23 AM

as a hygienist i can say that i severely appreciate those who actually take the time to floss... we only get so much time to clean people's teeth and the more crap, the harder the work.
and hey: DON'T SUBSTITUTE LISTERINE FOR FLOSS! THEY LIE!!! it's just an adjunct not a replacement, dang it. people are coming in saying "i never floss anymore just use listerine" and their mouths look like a friggin waste disposal site.
Thanks for reading. Gus, RDH

Posted by: Gustavo Coutinho at September 25, 2004 10:16 AM

I really hate flossing...I have all of my wisdom teeth, so the tops of my teeth are *really* close together. So I have to ram, and shove, and pull to get the floss in there! Turns out my flossing reminded my girlfriend of a cheese slicer!

Not cool..so I got a interdental brush...work really well since i have some space at the bottom for one of these little things..take a look for yourself..

http://www.oralb.com/products/product.asp?tid=products&sub=flossinterdental&cid=flossinterdental&pid=interdental

much easier, sorta like a scrubbing toothpick

Posted by: Mp3thief at October 2, 2004 7:59 AM

My dentist yelled at me for not flossing last time.

MY DENTIST YELLED AT ME! There has got to be something wrong with a person when they're being yelled at by a person that they're paying over $100 to see.

Posted by: J. Leanth at October 5, 2004 5:01 PM