Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Flossing and Flying

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not good at flossing my teeth. As a matter of fact, usually when the dental hygienist asks me how often I floss, I like to joke by saying, “The last time I flossed, you did it.” She usually doesn’t find that as amusing as I do. It’s not quite that bad, but those cards the dentist office sends to remind me of my upcoming cleaning, are usually my reminder to start flossing. I’ve taken care of my teeth for the most part; I wore braces for a couple years, I paid big bucks to have them whitened, but if you were to give me a grade on flossing, I’d get a big fat F...as in Flunked Flossing. I know all the benefits to flossing; better looking teeth and gums, no gum cancer, a longer life span, and even weight loss. So why, you might ask yourself, would I not floss my teeth as much as I should when the benefits include looking better, living longer, and not getting mouth cancer?

My first excuse is that I have built in retainers. These metal fences on the back of my teeth make flossing more complicated than just pulling out some thread and going at it. It requires a flossing needle. I literally thread floss through the needle like I did in 8th grade home economics...which I also failed. The needle isn’t actually a needle as you might think of it, it’s more like a plastic lasso for floss. It doesn’t hurt, but it is a pain. The second reason I don’t floss like I should? Mostly laziness. Usually by the time I’m ready for bed, I’ve stayed up beyond most peoples bed times, and the last thing I want to do is spend an extra couple minutes in the bathroom before I stumble into bed.

The other day, a lightbulb went off in my head (which doesn’t happen very often, so I have to pay attention when it does). I was flying over to Europe, and somewhere over the North Atlantic, I looked at the clock and decided 20 hours awake was too long to go without brushing my teeth. Pilots are allowed to leave the cockpit inflight for physiological reasons, I figured bad breath is physiological, right? I opened my suitcase, grabbed my toiletry kit and headed out of the cockpit and to the lavatory. I also brought a bottle of water because I refuse to brush my teeth with airplane water.

As I pulled the toothbrush out of my toiletry kit, I saw my floss laying there. It was looking up at me, almost as if it were saying, “Hey Paul, wanna play?” So I grabbed the floss and floss threaders and went to work. As I was threading floss through my incisor, the lightbulb went off. I fly back and forth across the ocean at least four times a month, if I floss on every flight, that’s eight times per month. Now, I know that’s not nearly the number my dentist wants to see, but it’s better than zero times per month.

So that’s my plan; flying and flossing. They say pilots are good at multitasking, I don’t think this is quite what they mean, but if people are going to call me Smiling Paul, I better have a good smile to go with the nickname.


bad braeath said...

hope this helps you. I had awful bad breath and tonsil stones. Thank god my only friend told me to check Oraltech Labs advice as it got rid of her bad breath and her post nasal drip. I've been following Oraltech Labs advice for about 4 months now and I feel much better, also at work people are not avoiding me anymore so it seems to have cured my bad breath as well, so good luck.

smilingpaul said...

I don't really have bad breath unless I haven't brushed my teeth for 20 hours, which happens sometimes because of my job...but I appreciate it.