When I first started blogging about being an INTJ this past summer, I pointed out that I have little trouble with changing my mind and behavior when presented with sufficient evidence to do so.
The example I gave was flossing. In spring 2011, Cracked.com published an article, “7 Basic Things You Won’t Believe You’re All Doing Wrong,” which included tooth brushing/flossing.
In short: Brushing should still be done twice a day, but not soon after eating, and the focus should be on the gums. Also, flossing is much more important than brushing.
Thus, in spring 2011, I began flossing regularly—because I had read convincing evidence (yeah, yeah, I know, Cracked.com is hardly The New England Journal of Medicine), not just because someone yelled at me to do it.
. . .
I have flossed every night for the past 2.5+ years, except the occasional “crap I am out of floss” or “oops I forgot to pack my floss for the weekend.” My last dentist appointment was January 2011, before I lost my insurance when I left DC and became self-employed. I decided to use it as an experiment, to see if it would make a difference at my next dental appointment.
Last week, I had my first dental appointment in three years. New dentist, new Xrays, new everything.
The result? Two small, non-urgent cavities that will be filled next month, and otherwise clean teeth and healthy gums.
It was absolutely hilarious when I was getting my cleaning. I have a permanent wire retainer cemented behind my bottom-front teeth, and when the hygienist went to attack it with her scrapey-pokey things, she exclaimed, “This is the cleanest bottom retainer I have ever seen!!” She actually asked me how I did it.
With perhaps a little bit of smugness, I said, “I floss every day. I really do.”
She was ecstatic. “Now I can tell people that it really does make a difference!” As she went to work, practically swooning over the lack of plaque, she said, “Oh, if I had a hundred of you every day! It would make my job so much easier.” I was in and out in about 20 minutes total.
There’s your lessons, kids: flossing does make a difference. It not only makes your teeth healthier, but it makes dental hygienists a LOT happier.