And Now A Public Service Announcement

Floss Daily.

I was going to be snarky and just make it a two-word post, but we all have mothers/grandmothers/fathers/grandfathers/kids who do that kind of thing.  And since you come to visit this space as a refuge from your family,  I should be as far from snarky as possible. However, it doesn’t diminish the message that the singular activity of flossing your teeth daily is even more important than all the other “good habits”  you’ve learned since age 5.  And I am an authority on health topics as the winner of the Mrs. Hatkin Memorial Health Award back when I graduated 8th grade.

Not one to rest on my laurels,  I have done some homework about this topic.  Again, none of these bullets are something you haven’t already heard or been lectured about, but I hope to provide some additional insight.  Before I begin I must cite my source:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/18428-reasons-use-dental-floss/.  However, the italics are mine. 

Here goes:

Dental floss does far more than get tiny chunks of food out of the gaps between your teeth. Using dental floss every day will make you look better, smell better, be healthier and help you live longer. (WOW!  Who wouldn’t want more of that stuff?) A frightening array of debris and bacteria hides between your teeth and along your gum line. Using dental floss is the simplest and most effective way to protect yourself. (When you say it like that, don’t we all want to be string-waving, ninja tooth warriors?  You can even floss while reclining — this I know for a fact!) 

Removes Food

The most obvious benefit to using dental floss is that it removes food stuck between your teeth that a toothbrush cannot get. Those who do not floss regularly are often surprised by what floss digs out. Food can be hiding between your teeth even though you are unaware of it. It sits there and literally rots inside your mouth. (Flossing together can be a very fun social activity ~ think of a family of chimps grooming themselves.  We are more simian and similar than we realize.)

Removes Plaque

Using dental floss removes plaque from between your teeth. When plaque builds up, it becomes tartar. This is the unattractive, hard, crusty stuff that forms on teeth and makes them look yellow. Brushing removes plaque from the surface of teeth, but only dental floss can remove it from in between. ( Your dental hygienist knows when you are not being truthful about your flossing habits ~ if you have a good one s/he will call you out on it and make you a better person~ or at least a better liar.)

Prevents Gum Disease

When tartar builds up between teeth it can lead to gum disease. This is known as gingivitis. It eventually leads to periodontitis which is deterioration of the bone holding your teeth in your mouth. Using dental floss keeps your gums healthy and helps you hold on to your teeth. Those who floss regularly keep their teeth years longer than those who rarely floss. (This is just plain scary and keeps me up at night.  I am also cheap:  it is cheaper to buy dental floss than a new set of chompers or implants.)

Prevents Bad Breath

Rotting food that is stuck between your teeth emits a horrible smell. Tooth decay and gum disease also produce foul odors. This is often the reason people have bad breath. Regular use of dental floss keeps your mouth healthy and smelling fresh.  (May lead to more fulfilling relationships ~results may vary.  Call your doctor if you experience an erect.. oops, wrong PSA.)  

Prevents Heart Disease

Using dental floss is actually good for your heart. All sorts of bacteria hide between your teeth. This includes potentially deadly streptococcus. If bacteria are allowed to build between your teeth it can actually inflame heart muscle and cause complications for people with other heart ailments.  (Do it for the folks who’d miss you if you weren’t around to irritate them ~ that’s my motivation.) 

Prevents Diabetes

The oral bacteria that can contribute to heart disease can also aggravate diabetes. Diabetics are also likely to develop gum inflammation faster than healthy people. It is especially vital for them to use dental floss daily to prevent gum disease and worsen their diabetes.  (Undiagnosed and/or uncontrolled diabetes brings on all other kinds of bad stuff all over your body.  Like your car, you have to take care of your body if you want it to last for the long haul.) 



8 thoughts on “And Now A Public Service Announcement

  1. Not only that, but floss itself is the most versatile invention since the Swiss Army Knife: in a pinch, you can use it to sew on a button, cut cheesecake, truss a turkey, hang Christmas ornaments – need I continue?

    don’t forget to floss yr tongue!

    1. Hi Alice! What are the odds? Your mom, (was her first name Thelma?), was my 8th grade Health teacher! Our classroom was a portable trailer that squatted outside the back of the High School and we had to walk across this vast field to get there b/c the Middle School was on the other side of said field. For the life of me I could not figure out that if these trailers were meant to be “portable,” why couldn’t they just move them and install them next to our school. And then I remembered that back in those days kids used to get something called “exercise.” ….just by walking over to Health class.

      1. Rosie,

        OMG – That is my mother – Thelma Hatkin. She loved teaching. Unfortunately, she passed away this past March at age 90. She lived in Freehold. What is your name? Where do you live now? I live in Cary, NC. I graduated from Long Branch HS in 1967.

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