Only the ones you need

In their remarkable book called You: The Owner's Manual, Drs. Roisen and Oz  wrote on the human body. A thing that everyone possess but most people (including yours truly) seem to know little about (and what they think they know is mostly myth). I was most intrigued by their descriptions of the two main cavities that book-end our generous plumbing a.k.a the 'digestive system'.

On one end they recommended to stool watch - i.e to pay attention to the shape and the consistency. If something's wrong with your digestion then you are gonna see the effects. The ideal stool needs to long and S-shaped (they write: like the shape of your intestine). It shouldn't be hard and softer than al dente is Goldilocks perfection.

We all know garbage in, garbage out doesn't just apply to computer programming. On the oral end people seem to have most of the right ideas. Eating healthy is known, if not followed very well. On the aspect of maintenance people are diligent about brushing their teeth at least twice a day and certainly at night. Of course no one really changes tooth brushes every six months as recommended. It's one of those things that no one really takes seriously like the notice on mattresses: "Do not tear this label, or hell will break loose".

Despite all evidence and suggestion to the contrary, I have yet to see anyone as diligent about flossing. No dentist, drunk or sober, is going to not recommend flossing. What do Roisen and Oz propose? They  leave it up to you and recommend rather pithily:

Teeth: Floss only the ones you need
Since my last dental exam, I have actually behaved in a manner that I didn't care.  I was given a clean bill but like everything in life, you can't rest on your past laurels. So, I freaked out when I learned that I had my dentist's appointment in two weeks. Brush as much as you want, those bleeding gums give away that you haven't flossed for love or for money in past few months. 

To avoid the dead giveaway and lose face in front of my dentist, I crammed.  I was cramming for the last two weeks for the dental exam by flossing every day.  The gums, they bled, but by the end of the week the really nasty tell-tale signs would be gone.  On the day of the exam, the removal of the calculus was painful, but the gums didn't bleed. This is to say that I  passed with a high B+ on in the flossing column of the report card.

As is always the case, after the cleaning and gentle admonishment I felt very repentant. I swore that I will finally turn a new leaf and floss. It's for my own good, no?

So, I have been very disciplined. Using the best floss money can buy and sleeping very soundly at night.

What is it with flossing? Is it just me? Every time I floss, I feel very virtuous, as if I did a good deed that day. A feeling that is better than the one you get when you eat a healthy salad when the rest of the people around you are eating something patently bad -  like nasty French fries. It just seems to lift you up to a higher plane.

Consequently, if you really want to intimidate somebody then just floss while they are brushing their teeth. It eerily makes them feel a little less clean. It's more effective than the using a hand sanitizer for no real reason. Pulling out the hand sanitizer makes most people think you are just one of the  'germ theory' show-offs. You could lose friends this way.  But, flossing, ah that's a subtle one.

So, every night as I rub the twine between my teeth I feel like a  better bigger person, a human being that people want to emulate but can't quite do it. Besides, I sleep rather soundly knowing my gnashers will be there the next morning.

No comments: