Last week, I learned a couple important lesson at a dentist appointment.
The first lesson was that I could opt into text messages from my dentist. Now, I can more easily fit her floss-shaming into my busy, on-the-go lifestyle. What an age we live in!
The second came toward the end of the appointment, when I found out that a tooth of mine had decayed enough that I needed my first ever crown! To add to the bad news, because crowns are only half-covered under my dental plan, I’d have to pay around $500 from my own pocket.
Now that’s a rough way to derail my debt payoff goals for January!
Anyhow, as she got to work replacing my real tooth with plastic and porcelain, thereby making me a small percentage more machine than man, we talked about flossing.
Why I really should floss more
I’ve always thought of flossing as only useful for getting rid of bits of food stuck between my teeth. But she told me that flossing does so much more! Flossing agitates the nearly invisible film of bacteria that forms between your teeth and between your teeth and your gums. Leave that bacteria unchecked and it forms into plaque. Leave that plaque alone and it turns into the much harder tartar, which can either be scraped off at your next dental cleaning or left to ruin your gums and teeth — and cost you $500 every time you need a crown!
Need more motivation to floss? Here are some more reasons:
- Brushing your teeth is like like using a bath sponge to clean off the broad parts of your body like your arms and back. That’s important for sure, but you wouldn’t leave the shower without cleaning your arm pits and other in-between body parts!
- Each tooth has five faces: a front, back, top, left and right side; brushing but not flossing leaves two of those five faces uncleaned!
- Flossing prevents gum disease which can also attack the bones that support your face; let those bones sag by not flossing and you’ll look like an old person prematurely (Source: WebMD)
How I’ll hack myself into flossing
First off, I’ll find motivation in the reasons I listed above.
Second, I’ll always have it around. Floss already fits my criteria of the ideal item to buy in bulk:
- It never spoils
- The storage space and cost of having a lot of it around is close to zero
- I’m definitely going to use it in the future
But I won’t just keep what’s left of the five-pack underneath the bathroom sink; I’ll have a pack of floss in my medicine cabinet by my toothbrush, put one in my desk drawer at work, put one on my bedside table, have one by the television remote. In fact, I’m looking at a pack of floss as I type this right now.
Finally, I’ll make sure I’m flossing the way the American Dental Association recommends — by gently rub the floss against each side of your tooth multiple times, then curve the floss to rub deep between your tooth and gums.
So, ya flossing yet?