photo source: Wikimedia Commons
To floss or not to floss, that is the question. Well, not really, for most of us, but since this blog is about floss, it is the question here. To brush, perchance to floss; Aye, there’s the rub (or the gum massage.)
Shakespeare didn’t know about floss, and probably not the toothbrush either, so he didn’t have to figure out this truly existential question and could luxuriate in dealing with simple things like political conflict, personal trauma, murder, the mysteries of existence, and the malicious application of power. Yet we, in this complicated age, when every action is questionable and every option has hordes of supporters and naysayers, have to make all these difficult decisions and arrange our personal world by priority of actions.
So, why floss? Health, say some. Others doubt the need for this activity other than to provide a topic for dental hygienists to start conversations with, before they spend the next forty minutes vibrating bits of your personal coral reef out from its safe haven beneath the warm waves of a saliva sea. Maybe it comes down to personal habit and our allotments of time, energy, and spirit. There is an association between good oral health and a person’s general level of health, but not necessarily a cause and effect relationship. The mouth is, despite it often being glossed over by physicians on their way to examining your throat and all things to the south of that, part of the body, and if the person under observation (you) takes good care of that body, by exercising, eating right, avoiding dangerous habits, and staying out of war zones and UFO landing sites, he or she might also be inclined to attend to the needs of their teeth, too. And the individual who smokes too much, is sedentary, eats indiscriminately, and is a risk-taker might also not value having clean teeth. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, but not necessarily the other way round.
Flossing can be almost a fetish too. Washing the hands multiple times during the day might be obsessive, and this condition could apply to the mouth too. So, there is a continuum, and where we place ourselves along it is by free choice, if there truly is such a thing, another hotly debated topic among philosphers, mathematicians, and theology sudents. Or perhaps the golden mean applies, something Shakespeare would recognize. Maybe that is the answer to the question. Or not.
Does the concept of floss truly exist, or is it a mental construct to deal, in a small way, with the ultimate limits of control we have over our lives, and give ourselves the impression, false or otherwise, that we can alter the passage of time, one day at a time, as the clock ticks on. What would Socrates say? Or Kierkegaard? Or Sartre? Or your mother?
I don’t know the answers to all these ultimately confusing ideas. What I do know, despite the over-thinking, is that flossing is important to do. At least once per day.