This is my Informative/Explanatory piece for English 303. Before I began this piece I thought my target audience would be a dental office, health fair, etc… in a brochure format. But, as I began putting this together, I realized that I wanted to target those who don’t like going to the dentist, those who wouldn’t read a brochure on flossing, and those who wouldn’t read anything about flossing because most people don’t like to floss! So I chose “blog style” format to reach everyone that will take the time to read my blog post and not just limit the audience to a select few. My goal was to attract readers with the title and the picture of ET with floss hanging from his mouth, and to raise curiosity as to why “you don’t have to floss all your teeth” because it is not what we all have been taught or informed from our dental visits. I hope you find this informative and put to use the information I have shared. Please note: This piece may be revised at any given time!
Flossing! Who has time? It hurts! My gums bleed! I brush real good every day! It gets stuck and breaks off! I floss occasionally! I floss only when something gets stuck in my teeth! Trust me! I have heard every excuse there is possible! So what would you say if I said, “You don’t have to floss all your teeth”? Now that sounds more reasonable doesn’t it? I mean a little is better than none, right?
I was a dental hygienist for ten years. You are saying was? What happened? I retired my license after my daughter was born. I wanted to be a full-time mother. Back to flossing…
As a hygienist my favorite part was after the x-rays, the cleaning, the fluoride, you know the part where you are sitting in the chair waiting for 30 minutes for the dentist to come in the room and look at the x-rays and in your mouth and say everything looks good so you can go home, that part! I don’t know what goes on during that time for you, but if you were my patient, this is what you could expect:
Me: Hi Flossy Mae! How are you? How are your girls Annie and Carrie? Are they still having fun on the trampoline? (My patient gasps)
Flossy Mae: How did you remember that, it’s been over six months?
(I make notes on my patients and our conversations to add a personalized touch and they love it that I remember!)
While I am talking, I put her bib on, glove up, recline the chair, and turn on the big bright light and as she squints…
Me: Open up and let’s take a look.
I am looking around with my little mirror that looks like a long spoon and with my shepherd’s hook explorer checking all the nooks and crannies on the chewing surfaces and looking for cavities or loose fillings.
Then I pick up my favorite explorer the piggy tail! I am like a private investigator exploring around for the villains! I work methodically starting on the upper right in the back and working around. Who are the villains? Plaque!! (that sticky substance full of bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth even after you brush it off it starts forming back again) and tarter (plaque that is still full of bacteria and because it wasn’t removed by brushing or flossing it has hardened and should only be removed by a hygienist or dentist).
(Ooops! I’m thinking)
Me: There is a little bit of bleeding around your premolars on this side. Wait for it…. Are you flossing?
Flossy Mae: (a little embarrassed) Not like I should. It hurts a little and they bleed when I floss.
Me: Well, let’s get your cleaning finished and let’s see how you are flossing.
She nods because she can’t speak because I have both hands and the mirror and the piggy tail explorer in her mouth.
Her cleaning is finished and I sit her up and hand her a piece of floss. While I hold the mirror, I ask her to demonstrate how she flosses. Right off I see her technique is not accurate.
Me: Now let me show you the proper technique.
I demonstrate in her mouth on the lower front teeth while she is holding the mirror.
Flossy Mae: I didn’t know I was supposed to floss under my gums.
Me: Your gums are bleeding because of gingivitis which is the first stage of gum disease. This is the reversible stage of gum disease. Ever work out and exercise and it hurt? (of course they all say yes). You know it hurts in the beginning because your muscles are out of shape. Flossing is just like that. Your gums are fat and flabby and out of shape and yes it will be a little painful at first and yes they will bleed some and that is okay. After the first week or two the bleeding will stop and your gums will firm up and be pinker in color.
Now let me show you what I showed my patients.
Here is how to floss accurately:
- First you will need a long piece of floss approximately 12 inches long (yes that long!)
- Roll the floss up around your middle fingers
- Then pinch with your thumbs and index fingers leaving about a two inch space
- Let’s start with a front tooth for ease of demonstrating: Place the floss between the teeth
- Now pick which side you are flossing first, then let the floss hug the tooth Slide it completely under the gum, without forcing it, until it stops
- Slide the floss up and down 5 to 6 times hugging the tooth surface at all times
- Without removing the floss from between the teeth, slide the floss out of the gum and hug the opposite side of the tooth the same way
- Remove the floss from between the teeth
- Before moving to the next section, roll the floss one turn on your right middle finger and unroll from the left finger, exposing a new section of the floss. This keeps from transferring bacteria from one gum pocket to the next.
Flossing in a systematic order will help you avoid skipping areas. For example: start in the upper right and work your way around and then lower left and back around to the right. This way you don’t miss a tooth.
Repeat for all teeth! Ooops! Did I say all teeth? I know you are saying, but you said you don’t have to floss all your teeth.
You don’t have to floss all your teeth…JUST THE ONES YOU WANT TO KEEP!!!!!
(All images used from the web)