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I’ll be the first one to admit flossing is annoying.  After eating a healthy diet, staying disciplined with my cardio and weight training a minimum of 3 days per week, I sometimes feel like I’m pushing the envelope on how much I’m willing to do to be healthy.  However, when I go in for my (somewhat) regular dental check-ups, I have to be honest, I dread it.  Is it because my teeth are ‘jacked up’, have cavities, etc.?  No.  On the contrary I like my teeth and smile, and although they’re aging like the rest of me, I’m pleased with how straight and white they are.  I brush with a Sonicare each night and morning religiously, so that should do the trick right?  Not.  The last two times I’ve gone in for my check-up and cleaning, I have been questioned, nagged and received a dental technician guilt trip, because I hadn’t been flossing.   Flossing.  It seems so trivial in the grand scheme of things, and I literally think the technician should give me credit for everything else I’ve been doing to stay healthy (which she really doesn’t care about).  Well a couple of months back, the teeth cleaning segment of my check up had plenty of guilt, took about twice as long as usual, and frankly without getting too graphic, was a bit on the gross side.  The reason was simple, I needed to floss.

I went straight to my local pharmacy, bought a two miles of floss (1 for home and 1 for work), along with some mouthwash and decided,  “no mas.”  At least to the dental cleaning guilt trip.  Perhaps a more positive view would be, “from now on.”  I started flossing at least once per day.  It’s not my favorite thing to do, but my teeth do feel great afterward, I’m always a bit surprised by what I find in my mouth just after brushing (gross, I know), and I know my next check-up and cleaning will be a more positive experience — and yes, because it’s in their nature, the dental technicians will find something else to nag me about.  A step in the right direction nonetheless

In addition to the better check-ups, there has been quite a bit of research in recent years demonstrating a strong correlation between flossing and longevity.  Now, the Dalai Lama has not promised me eternal life, as he did Carl the groundskeeper in the classic movie “Caddyshack,” but one study from Emory University demonstrated that those who flossed lived on average of 6.4 years longer than those that did not.  I’ll let you read a brief excerpt with a summary that covers the variables and how such conclusions were drawn [Here], but I’m just going to focus on 6.4 bonus years.

As Carl the groundskeeper would say, “so I have that going for me.”  Few simple things we do each day, regardless of how annoying they are, can give us a 6.4 year “life kicker”, so I think I’ll stay with the flossing.

Small steps add up!