The dental hygienist asked me if I flossed

The dental hygienist asked me if I flossed. I decided I would tell the truth. It was time. Deception is not a good thing. I told her I flossed every day – which is to say – every day that I visited the dentist. I will not argue against the merit of flossing. But I don’t do it that often. And I wonder who does. Who regularly flosses every single day? Apart from dental hygienists and others whose profession is the tooth…

There are three things I have against flossing. Firstly, it’s time consuming. My teeth like each other. They have, over the years formed a special relationship. They are cosy in my mouth. Apart from the occasional intrusion from the cold and spiky instruments of a dental hygienist, they are snug and happy. They do not want to be parted, even if it is momentarily and by a piece of cotton. So it takes time. I think I am doing my mouth a favour if I brush. Flossing as well can take up valuable time that could be spent gazing out of the window or napping.

Secondly, it’s boring. It’s not as if you can do anything else while this activity is going on. Even when the hygienist herself is rummaging around in my mouth, I can slip off into some fantasy world, distracting myself from the proceedings. But when you are doing it yourself, it does require an amount of concentration. And it is quite difficult multi-tasking. That’s why those 5 bathroom tiles still haven’t been put on. I can’t possibly do that while I’m flossing.

Thirdly, it’s icky. Messing around in there is never pleasant. Indeed, I am quite concerned about those people who want to mess around in other people’s mouths. Messing around in your own mouth is pretty unpleasant. Wanting to do it as a profession is just plain weird. And these are the people advising me to floss. Why should I take the advice of people who are clearly deranged, as evinced in their choice of profession?

My current dentist is okay. It’s important to say that. I know the chances of him reading this are slim but never anger a man who has the power to hand out pain and charge you for it at the same time. My previous dentist was a worry. She was a very attractive blond. She did some heavy duty root canal work on me. And her technique was to hold her arm around my head. I was encircled by love and affection. She cradled me to her bosom. And then she hurt me. It is the strangest of feelings to be held with tender, loving care and then to be dealt some of the worst pain I have ever experienced.

Kind of like being stalked by a knife-carrying marshmallow.

Or a kitten with a flamethrower.



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