Have YOU Been Flossing YOUR Teeth ALL Your Life?

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.doctor-or-dentist


by Anura Guruge

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Went to see my latest dentist today — after having walked out of a Pittsfield dentist last month, in a huff, about not wanting my blood pressure taken.

The new dentist is a Sikh in Gilford (N.H.). [And to spare him any blushes, assuming he can blush, I will refrain from mentioning his name.]

He seems nice enough though I never got to see him per se though he came to examine my teeth! I am horizontally prone and he strides in, shakes my hand, while all the time covering his face with a sanitization mask. I guess he must be of a shy and retiring disposition. Strange. I kind of thought it was rude. I have never met the guy. So at least for the initial ‘meet-and-greet’ he could have lowered his mask. I guess they don’t teach these new dentists and doctors much about social etiquette.

But, he had a very nice. very pleasant and highly businesslike dental hygienist and 99% of my visit was with her. We kind of knew her, though this was the first time she has ever cleaned my teeth.


flossing1Anyhow, this masked Sikh, who has to be fairly young, asked me, quite seriously: ‘have you been flossing your teeth all your life?’.

I will admit that I thought, right off the bat, that it was a pretty dumb question. I am even willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and take for granted that ‘by all your life’ he didn’t mean when I was 1 year old or even had baby teeth.

But, I am 60. IF he bothered to look at my chart he would have known that — given that dentist are extremely good with numbers because they seem to spend so much time working out how much they are going to make off you.

So, what he was basically asking me was whether I had been flossing for say 50 years.

50 years.

That would take us to 1964.

440661I was still in Ceylon. I am not sure whether they even floss in Sri Lanka today. We were lucky to have toothbrushes. Often we used our fingers or soft branches from trees!

This guy looks like he was born in the 1980s. But I couldn’t tell. He looked like the Lone Ranger sans the horse.

I told him point blank that HECK NO, I had not been flossing all my life …. maybe for the last 20 years.

I immediately made a mental note that I will check the history of flossing when I got home.

I just did.

Yes, yes, yes. Doctors and dentists invented flossing ‘tools’ in the late 1880s. But they also invented vibrators for calming women’s nerved around that time too.


So let me categorically tell this masked Sikh … you may be a decent dentist (but I wouldn’t know since you didn’t have to do anything) … but you are rather naive and ill informed.

What a crazy thing to ask a 60 year old brown guy. “Have you been flossing ALL your life?”

I despair.

So how long have YOU been flossing?

Yes, I understand that Teischan, who is 8, could have answered that question in the affirmative. 52 year difference between her and her dad.


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