Mouthing Off About Flossing

Ransom Riggs

I mean dental flossing, not mental flossing. A recent trip to the dentist got me thinking about it again -- as he does every six months or so -- and I began wondering how many people really floss on a daily basis. According to the American Dental Association, though nearly all Americans brush their teeth every day, our flossing rate is somewhere between 10 and 40 percent. (I guess the fudge factor there is a result of how many people lie to their dentist.)

I don't know if any of you have had this experience, but every time I adopt a new oral hygiene habit, the goalposts seem to shift. I tell my dentist about it and he says, well, maybe you're flossing every day, but you're not flossing well enough every day. Or if I'm using the floss picks that are so convenient and easy-to-wield, he tells me they're not good enough (apparently they miss an important part of one's gums).

This comic by The Oatmeal pretty much sums up my relationship to flossing, and in many ways, to my dentist.

How often do you floss? Any dental habits you've always wanted to break (or make) but never quite been able to?