The other uses for dental floss

We usually ask patients, "Do you use dental floss?" The most frequent answer is, "Yes, but not as much as I should." Another common response is, "Yes, when something gets stuck." Some patients think of flossing as a method of physical and psychological torture and won`t even accept floss as a free gift! Once in a while, however, you may come across a non-flosser who has been secretly using your complimentary floss for other things during the past decade or so since becoming your patient.

Joanne I. Sheehan, RDH

We usually ask patients, "Do you use dental floss?" The most frequent answer is, "Yes, but not as much as I should." Another common response is, "Yes, when something gets stuck." Some patients think of flossing as a method of physical and psychological torture and won`t even accept floss as a free gift! Once in a while, however, you may come across a non-flosser who has been secretly using your complimentary floss for other things during the past decade or so since becoming your patient.

Questioning my patients has helped me in compiling a list of innovative and creative ideas for this stringy stuff. Some ideas I have tried myself. Others, I have serious reservations about. None will do your patient`s teeth any good. But maybe, if you give your patients a copy of this list, they`ll at least take the floss home. And, who knows, maybe one day they just might use it on their teeth ... when something gets stuck.

Use/Type of floss

1. Tying up tomato plants / Ultrafloss

2. Rendering Alaskan Dungeonous Crabs harmless / Regular, waxed

3. Hanging Christmas ornaments / Fine, shred-resistant

4. Slicing cheese / Fine

5. Wrapping pork roast / Mint tape, unwaxed

6. Tying bait inside squirrel trap / Regular, cinnamon,waxed

7. Making mobiles, windchimes / Fine, shred-resistant

8. Walk a very small dog / Dental tape, woven

9. Tripping siblings / Regular, baking soda, waxed

10. Bikini for vacation on Riviera / Fine?!

11. Sewing on shirt buttons / Fine

12. Sewing on coat buttons / Regular, woven

13. Stringing on archery bows / Regular, waxed

14. Playing cat`s cradle / Fine

15. Playing with cat / Regular

16. Hanging Beetle Bags from bushes - Regular, waxed

17. Fishing line for goldfish / Fine

18. Fishing line for striped bass / Heavy duty, waxed

19. Fly-tying / Fine

20. Tie-dying / Regular

21. Replacing guitar strings / Regular

22. Trussing up turkey / Regular, grape, unwaxed

23. Slicing cinnamon bun dough / Regular, cinnamon, unwaxed

24. Displaying Christmas cards, stars / Dental tape, unwaxed

25. Stringing popcorn for tree / Regular, cinnamon, unwaxed

26. Model ship-building - Regular and fine, waxed and unwaxed

27. Tying packages / Regular, unwaxed

28. Sewing covers on motorcycle seats / Regular, waxed

29. Typing electric wire bundles / Regular, unwaxed!

30. Suspending Starship Enterprise - Regular or fine in hyperspace from ceiling

Remember, never use floss for: bungee-jumping, baby swings, tug-o-war games, or acts of aggression.

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