Opinion: The many uses for floss
I have steadfastly accepted as fact anything preceded by the words “They say….” They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day; they say you should drink seven glasses of water daily; they say you should wait 30 minutes after eating to go swimming.
Luckily, all of these directives have proven false. But I am most delighted by this latest debunking: No proof that daily flossing prevents cavities and gum disease.
Flossing has never been very popular. Here are some common excuses people give for not flossing.
I am not coordinated enough: I get that. When I first started flossing, I made the mistake of doing it while looking in the mirror. I was punching myself in the nose three or four times a week.
I am pregnant: This is a feeble excuse, especially since 35 percent of the people saying it were men.
I have perfect teeth, no food ever gets stuck in my teeth, my teeth are amazing: Well, he’s not my choice for the next president, but I do think this guy has a good set of choppers.
Consumers spend two billion dollars a year on dental floss, about a half-million yards of the stuff, or enough to go around the earth 20 times. But remember that a lot of that half-million yards was used as emergency shoelaces, fishing line and picture hangers.
There’s actually a blog called 1,001 ways to use dental floss. It includes lots of clever ideas, but strangling someone or using it for a prison break do not speak to my personal needs.
Dental floss was invented by Levi Spear Parmly in the early 1800s. His wife thought his idea needed some tweaking. “Look, Levi, instead of your invention, how about making tiny, pointy wooden sticks that you can pick your teeth with? You could call them Spear Picks. Clever, huh?”
“Better let me do the thinking, dear. And that other idea of yours, making pants out of denim and calling them Levi’s? I don’t think that will fly, either.”