To Floss or not to Floss?

That may be the question, but suddenly millions of us are chomping on our dental plates to know, “what’s the effing answer?”

Flossing-FingerAfter years of dire warnings, what do you mean there’s no evidence that daily flossing is beneficial?

I’ve wrestled with that crippling guilt of being an Intermittent Flosser, or “IFer,” long enough.

Unlike my practiced and earnest wife, I’ve never been able to “finish off” a box of Floss.  Mine always seemed to disappear into the Floss-zone long before I’d used it all up.

I’m tired of suffering from PTSD every five years when I visit the dentist’s office.

But apparently the dominatrix tyrant hygienist who’s so adept at making me feel guilty no longer has me in her choke hold.


Dentist’s office … I’m in the chair … already sweaty and tense.  I’m rehearsing my answer to “THE QUESTION.”

The door swishes open.  My pulse sky rockets.

She sits down and commands, “Open wide.”

Here comes the bomb:  “Do you floss … reg-u-lar-ly?”

With a mouthful of some kind of “berry crap” and paraphernalia, I garble  “Yuhhuh … regraree armos erry dah.”

“Hmmm … we’ll see.”


But this visit I’m locked and loaded.  I’ve read the research.  The scam is over.

O-V-E-R … Over!

I violate all dental protocols and sit up in the chair.  Mouth freed from the imprisoning instruments of dental hygiene, I spit before I’ve been granted permission.

Then I whip out my copy of the recent extensive Associated Press survey and calmly read:  “The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal.”

“That’s true.  You can Google it yourself,” I announce and spit again.

Dead silence as a once sterile dental pick drops on the tray with a distinct clink.

I lie back down and quietly hum a few bars of “Born Free” … filled with a new found freedom having cast aside years of nylon stringed imprisonment.


When I get home, I feel just a bit alone.  It’s like I’m missing an old friend.

I go into the bathroom and hold my Dental Floss in my hand.

“It’s ok little box of Floss.  I’ll still use you … just not everyday.  And I won’t feel guilty about it.”

I then take the six Floss containers I have stored for when I can’t find the one that I’ve been using, sit down at my computer, and Google “Creative ways to use Dental Floss.”

I get 997,000 entries in .70 seconds.  Who knew?

Just sayin’ …

14 thoughts on “To Floss or not to Floss?

  1. Oh, at first I thought you were referring to women’s bathing suits in Rio. Ah, but seriously, this seems like common sense to me. I always found fanatical obsessive flossing weird , but I do believe it does help remove a lot of…well, YOU know what ends up in your mouth. So, I think it definitely has health benefits, and is not simply a dental industry conspiracy. All things in moderation… 🙂

    • Steve … Thanx for reading … What? Rio bikinis … glad you can make a connection ’cause I sure can’t and I start drinking vodka at 10 AM on my good days.

      As for all things in moderation, I’ve handled that with only a coupla exceptions … Guess what #1 is? You’re right … Vodka.

      It’s not the flossing .. it’s the guilt inducement if you don’t floss every day …

  2. I read the article, which states that studies have NOT PROVEN flossing beneficial.

    That’s not the same as saying that studies have proven flossing is NOT BENEFICIAL. Absence of proof is not proof. 🙂

    If your hygienist is cute, you might want to visit more than every five years. 🙂 🙂

    • Thanx for checking in, Oops … To be even more precise, the survey stated that “regular flossing” is not proven to be beneficial. And I don’t care how cute the hygienist is if she’s a guilt inducer about regular flossing.

      A few weeks before my appointment, I would floss like crazy so my gums were conditioned and prepped for the mad flosser hygienist attacking my sweet pinkish gums. But to no avail.

      I guess you can say that I have not had a positive flossing experience … thankfully it has not left me too scared mentally.

  3. Thufferin’-thsucatash, Rithard…..

    No more dental floss? Next thing ya know you’ll be tellin’ us we don’t need MENTAL FLOSS either! (And by mental floss I mean vodka.)

    But, friend-to-friend, allow me to warn you: Ticking-off the dental hygienist is rarely a wise more. To paraphrase Mr. Thakespeare, they know more ways to make your life a living hell, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy…

    Still, I look forward to seeing your dental floss macrame creations…

    • Thanks for reading, Tom … I’ve since learned that Floss actually come in many different colors … I guess macrame, fishing, sewing, etc. with your Floss is a bigger deal than anticipated.

      Fortunately, I don’t think my hygienist reads my blog … but, someone who doesn’t like me as much as they should, may send it to her.

      Then, as Shake would say, “Alas, Poor Goose … yours is cooked!”

  4. Que noticias tan buenas! I am one of those obedient children who not only flosses but also brushes her teeth three times a day, and I have horrible gums and teeth.
    Ii have actually sewn with floss to repair things like wind chimes and pool sweeps where regular thread would not hold for long, so not only macrame but also cross-stitching are future hobbies for you. I have only seen white, tan, green and red floss, but it is likely that it comes in many colors.
    Love the photo and the entire post. Gracias, Hermanito!

    • GL … Thanks for reading and for the Non-Flossy use ideas. But, colors for Floss seems to me to be ranked up there with colors for condoms … much ado about nothing.

      The photos are the result of Mari’s efforts … she took particular pride with “giving the middle finger” to flossing …

      Thanks for all your support, Hermanita …

  5. A wise Dentist, who I worked for 20 yrs. ago told his patients…….”Only floss the teeth you want to keep!’

    • Hi Lynn … Thanks for reading, and as a professional in the dental medical area, I appreciate your not doing a “drive by flossing on me!” Glad you could see the humor in the piece …

      Yes, flossing is probably beneficial … I particularly enjoy the snack foods I dislodge from my teeth and have found that if I wait too long, the flavor of my snacks becomes somewhat putrid.

    • Aaah, Nancy … Heidi Lynn probably was a compulsive flosser and she did maintain quite a “floss-iere” complete with names and phone numbers, which lead to the demise of many of her clients.

      I think she got both a book and movie deal out of the whole thing. So it wasn’t all bad for her.

      But, alas … I was just poking fun at yet another big time scam … I think I can save approximately $13.45/year if I floss every other day instead of daily.

      Thanks for reading …

  6. Between you and your readers, I think you’ve pretty well covered the waterfront with floss (stop and picture that for a moment)…with one exception. As Mari will tell you, the floss makers are probably quaking in their boots at this news.

    They’re madly conducting surveys and focus groups to determine the potential impact on revenue, company share prices and job terminations. That $13.45/year starts to add up when millions of people revert to every other day, or (gasp) once a month.

    I predict that several marketing campaigns will be launched, One approach will be the Terminex-style “gross ’em out” with live shots of great white sharks, shreds of rotted flesh hanging from their teeth. The more genteel marketers will focus on the fun aspects of flossing, introducing games you can play with your colored floss. I myself particularly enjoy trying to hit a specific target on my mirror with every particle I dislodge. Makes clean-up a breeze.

    But Marketing can only take us so far in saving this critical component of the US economy.Even if you don’t want to use it on your teeth, your readers have mentioned creative ways to keep up your contribution of $13.45/year to our economy. I believe it’s every American’s duty to save jobs, share prices, and the American way of life by continuing to use floss.

    • Janet … Thanks for reading … Commenting, however, all I can say is, “Whaaaat?”

      I give-up … That was a very seriously absurd response clothed in a moral requisite for Amer-i-ca!

      I totally like the vision of P&G’s marketing folks quaking in their Floss decorated cubicles sobbing and wondering if they can afford country club dues for next year.

      Let’s hope your call to arms for the Flossers of Amer-i-ca to stand firm and floss daily will not fall on deaf ears … I’d hate to think I started our next Great Economic Dip (we don’t use the words recession or depression anymore — too extreme).

      Until next week …

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