Monday, July 19, 2010

Addicted to... flossing

Tonight as we were dining with my son, his wife and our grandson, we talked about dental care and briefly touched on flossing, which is something that has been part of my daily life for the last 24 years, but I wish I had started more than a half a century ago, but that another completely different story...

Flossing was “invented” by a New Orleans dentist back in 1815. Yet it took an inordinate amount of time to get the masses on the floss-bandwagon, mostly because of the lack of a practical, good product. Today, while nearly all American brush their teeth, only a fraction of them (we don't know for sure, perhaps between 10 and 40%) floss daily. Flossing isn't complicated, but it takes a bit of practice and patience and requires the practitioner to stick to it for a least three solid weeks before it can be anchored as a life-long habit.

While some of its advantages are pretty obvious, like removing an unsightly salad fragment and maintaining a good oral hygiene, the benefits of flossing in combination with brushing are said to prevent a bunch of bad things like gum disease, halitosis – which is bad breath - and cavities. Abiding to the daily chore is also linked to a reduced incidence of respiratory illnesses, heart disease, premature birth and can increase life expectancy. Since I've little interest in most of these ailments, the later benefit is so important to me that I plan to keep on flossing religiously for at least the next forty years!

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