My friend Rachel experienced a flossing incident the other morning. Here’s what she told me, “I was flossing this morning and for some reason my floss decided to cut into my fingernail. I was impressed, and completely confused. “
I understood completely, as flossing poses challenges for me too. I use this new more elastic floss now. It’s not sharp but my teeth still mangle it. I get halfway through and it breaks. Of course, this is better than the run of the mill waxed floss, those tough little strands which constantly broke off, between my teeth and stuck there. The worst was the floss like braided rope, which unraveled as I flossed, broke off and left long bits hanging out of my mouth. I’d jerk on those bits trying to extract them. I felt like a hooked fish. No wonder less than 40% of Americans floss daily. It’s dangerous.
I thought flossing was a modern invention, like the 1950’s or so. I turned to Wikipedia to find out how this habit got started. Turns out a dentist in New Orleans is credited with recommending silk floss for teeth cleaning in 1815. 1815, wow. Silk floss is not very sturdy or cheap, so it wasn’t widely available. I don’t wear silk so can’t imagine cleaning my teeth with it. J&J patented silk floss in 1898 but that didn’t help the popularity of the procedure. Not until after WWII, when a dentist came up with nylon floss did flossing take off.
Wikipedia says there are many kinds of dental floss available. Huh? I’ve only seen the waxed or unwaxed regular nylon and the new fancy, costlier thinner plastic. Apparently, the thickness varies and you should choose floss based on the thickness matching the closeness of your teeth. This is way too complicated. I have trouble figuring out my bra size, much less figure out what thickness of floss I need to use. I can use a floss pick which is less dangerous. Unless I get the floss stuck and then I have the entire device stuck in my mouth. I can always try a vibrator. Yes, power flossers use vibration to floss. I think I’ll ask for that for my birthday.
I’d love to hear your flossing stories.