My life has been revolutionized by the humble floss pick.
It’s terrible for the environment, I admit. My unappealing habit of flossing in John’s car and leaving my used Placquers™ in the cup holders has caused at least one near-shouting match, and numerous other tense moments between us. The picks multiply like a pestilence, in the bottom of my purse, the floor of my car, the bedside table, the kitchen drawers. I promise I try to remember to throw them out. I shudder to think what harms my discarded floss picks may be doing to the bellies of right whales. On the upside, perhaps local birds use them to build plastic-fortified nests. Another benefit: if your dog eats a strand of actual dental floss, the kind that unspools from the plastic box, it can be muy problemo for your pup, and mucho dinero for you. I know this because Westley once ate a box of floss. Apparently, it could have wrapped around his organs and cut off his blood supply. So using floss picks could save your dog’s life. Just sayin’.
Post-college, when I had little money and no dental insurance, I had a come-to-Jesus oral hygiene moment. I still felt scarred by a dentist I’d visited when I was in boarding school: Lecturing performatively to dental students over his shoulder as he introduced the drill into my mouth, he whacked a molar, sending a chip flying across the room. I was a twinge dentist-averse as a result. But a massive toothache eventually drove me to my knees, and thence, to a dentist. The hygienist gasped when I opened my mouth. “Somebody hasn’t been flossing,” she said sternly. Of course not. I was twenty-something. A dazzling smile and healthy teeth were my birth right. These should not require any highly specialized maintenance beyond daily brushing, I felt. In brief: the lady was a bit of a masochist. She went at my teeth with a vengeance, using every scraper, sharp crevice poker, and other torture device in her arsenal. When the dentist rolled up on his little stool to examine me, my gums aching and bloodied, she pursed her lips disapprovingly and muttered behind him: “Not a flosser.” As if I forged checks, or tormented small animals with barbeque tongs. I couldn’t even breathe comfortably, let alone chew, for five days after her ministrations. But now, thanks to floss picks, I’m a dentist’s dream. At my semi-annual cleaning last week, my hygienist Maureen barely took fifteen minutes before peeling off her sterile gloves with a snap: “See you in six months.”
Today, I went out for lunch with my friend Robyn. We both ordered the restaurant’s signature salad of shredded kale and brussels sprouts – vegetable slivers weaponized to burrow straight into the gum line. But thanks to my trusty packet of CVS floss sticks, which reside in the center console of my car for just such eventualities, I was clean as whistle before the stoplight even turned green.