How do people floss?

by baddieworld

Today, as I was in the process of trying to pass my white minty mental floss through the gaps in my teeth and failed repeatedly, I realized how utterly rubbish I am at flossing. Until recently, I was a faithful user of those little tooth-pick like things with a semi-circle on top which holds a bit of string – like, say, a mini scythe / archery bow. They are practical and easy to employ, and my mom swears by them. You can’t really find them in good ol’ vampire land (or so she claims) so whenever I go home I take her a few packs containing a couple of hundred or so. Just so that she doesn’t re-use them (which she has confessed to doing in the past). Which is kinda gross.

When I came to New York City though, upon my inspection of the dental hygiene section in Duane Reade’s (local ubiquitous drugstore) I found out that the little floss-picks were very, very expensive. Well, no surprise there, everything in NYC is. But, determined not to get fleeced for the sake of my flossing, I decided to buy the slightly cheaper normal floss. I was taken a bit aback by the options – waxed versus unwaxed…(I still don’t know what that’s about) but figured that what’s nice for my legs can’t be all that terrible for my floss. Also, I was rather excited about the whole affair: on the one hand, because my mom insisted she could never use anything else than the picks, as normal floss is too impractical – so I really, really wanted to prove how much more technically gifted I was. On the other hand, this image of Dexter in the opening of the series was running through my head – all semi-sadistic yet precise floss-pulling until his fingers turn white… I wanted me some of that!

With me so far, right? so, all happy with my new dental floss which comes in a neat little packaging – I pull on it to get it out of its white box and cut it with my scissors… and then realized I might have cut too little to wrap around my fingers. Hmm. I cut more, wrap enough around my fingers, floss a gap between my front teeth – hey, this is easy, look mom, no hands!- when I realize something. I don’t want to continue flossing using the used part of the string. But in order to move it along, I would have to wrap a 1) used and 2) damp part of the floss around my finger. Yeew. I look, ponder… would scratch my head if my hands weren’t (literally) tied up. I see no other way. So I do it. And then repeat – and get more and more grossed out.

It’s not just that. It’s that the stupid floss gets slippery when wet. Also, some of my teeth (especially back ones) don’t seem to have any freaking gaps! it’s like some evil tooth fairy soldered them together when no one was paying attention one night. So I really, really need to try hard to get in there. Which involves a lot of bending and contorting, and weird hand and arm movements – but the worst of it is that my fingers tend to get in places they shouldn’t and end up scratching my gums or the roof of my mouth. And its counterpart. (Is that called the floor of the mouth?) Anyway. Also, because all this happens with my mouth wide open, saliva tends to trickle down my hands, to my wrists, and then slowly but surely down my arms to my elbows. (So that my main tip to anyone who attempts to floss is to wear short sleeves). After all this, I sometimes (rarely) manage to get that floss in. And then… yep. It won’t come out again. Seriously. For minutes. I pull, and pull, and pull, until I think I might pull a tooth or two, or break the floss and be left with just a little bit of string hanging seductively between a second and a third molar. At least it’s white, so no one will be able to tell but me, right?

Come to think of it, I have similar problems while brushing teeth. I tend to have problems keeping toothpaste on the toothbrush in the first place – the little bugger has a mind of its own and tends to tilt when I’m not looking and then fall down. And if you are wondering exactly where I would direct my attention in the second between placing toothpaste on the brush and actually beginning to brush, I am afraid I don’t have a very intelligent answer. Anyway, so more than half of the toothpaste has left the brush and is now in the sink, and before more of it can go on its jolly way, I start to brush in earnest. With my mouth open (although Mr. B keeps telling me that’s the wrong way to do it. But what does he know?) Not before long, the toothpaste is on my lips, on my wrist, and possibly on my leggings. I stop brushing. At which point Mr. B admonishes me that I hadn’t done it for long enough. But really, what’s the point?

There is one thing I do well however, and that is use mouthwater – the happy gurgling, the feeling of freshness afterwards – bliss! At least … I think I’m doing it well. Maybe someone should come and supervise me…