String of Lies

Aug 4, 2016

By Annie Behr

My French roommate Julie had just come into the bathroom to get something.

“What are you doing with that string in your mouth,” she said, with a look of horrified surprise.

It turns out she had never seen floss. We were both in our 20s, and my dentist had spent over a decade instructing me to floss, so I was a little horrified, too. Was she sure? She hadn’t seen floss or even heard of it? Never, nada, nothing?

Non!” she said.

Julie had beautiful teeth—luminous, white kernels that pulled into a sultry smile. Did the French know something that we didn’t know about interdental hygiene?

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8 comments on “String of Lies

  • From an European point of view, I think Americans in general seem amusingly (and worryingly) to be hyper-hygienist and hyper-over-medicating, always hyper-worried about “killing the all germs”…

    BTW, what’s the point of this thread?

    Perhaps there could be a link between tendency to be religious and hyper-hygienism?

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  • 2
    bonnie2 says:

    what’s the point of this thread

    John Q Public’s inundation of (alleged) biased reports / findings / advertisements. Will Unbiased, please stand up.

    Americans in general seem…

    I hope you washed your hands before typing that. ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness‘.

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  • The finding was flossing on top of twice a day brushing made little difference.
    That does not mean flossing + once a day or less brushing helps.
    I don’t think anyone is claiming flossing is harmful as the twit who wrote this article did.

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  • “No researcher with a clear mind wakes up in the morning and says to himself: ‘you know what, let’s evaluate floss.’ ”

    Then a researcher with a cloudy mind should have put floss to the test a long time ago. How else would we know?

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  • Julie’s beautiful set of white teeth is genetic. The French are notorious for… I won’t go there, but Miss Julie’s breath probably stinks. You have to get food particles. Flossing does that. This is the stupidest thing I ever heard. If I don’t floss little pieces of food and bacteria get caught up there, especially in the back teeth. When I floss regularly my dentist has a very easy time removing plaque. When I take six months off my gums bleed, and my dentist has to really labor to get the plaque. Plus, I have nice pink gums because I have been flossing regularly.

    These studies! One after the other. Jesus!

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  • Also, FWIW, flossing is not mainly for removing food bits from between the teeth, though that is certainly one of its uses. It is primarily to remove placque, a bacterial biofilm that forms on all tooth surfaces that are not subjected to abrasion. That is why, somewhat counter-intuitively, even the backs of the last teeth in the arch must be flossed, as well as teeth next to edentulous spaces.

    Placque absorbs minerals from saliva and becomes “calculus” (lay term: “tartar”). This process takes about 24 hours, which means that flossing for placque control is only necessary once a day.

    I’m interested to see the “official” fall-out from this discussion. As an endodontist, I’m not up on the placque control literature. However, I have seen many patients who didn’t floss, or didn’t floss effectively, and these mean job security for dentists!


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  • Is this another research project that hasn’t been checked independantly? Not that I’m saying it’s wrong, but there seem to be a lot of media driven scientific claims based off of one limited paper.

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