You have to be smarter than the lies you tell.

5 Jan

Like pretty much everyone I know, I hate going to the dentist (even for routine cleanings) because I know I’m going to get lectured about my flossing habits. Or lack thereof.

Other than my sister, I don’t know anyone who flosses daily. And I think even my sister would admit that the only way she’s able to work it in is by standing in the middle of the living room, carrying on a full conversation with her hands and a foot of floss in her mouth at the end of the night.

Her teeth might be grateful, but I’m pretty sure her audience has a different take on it.

Anyway… to deflect some of the lectures, I’ve gotten into a habit of bending the truth a bit when I’m at the dentist. I’ve found that if you don’t fully own up to not flossing very regularly, the hygienist will provide you with a plausible alternative excuse.

To wit – about a year ago the conversation went something like this:

June: “Boy, your gums sure are bleeding. Do you floss every day?”

Me: “Well, I do floss, but I have to admit that there have been some days when I’ve missed it…”

June: “Hmm. Do you take vitamins?”

Me: “Vitamins? Um. No.”

June: “If you’re flossing, then it’s possible you have a vitamin deficiency. Try taking vitamins and you should do much better.”

Cool. See how easy that was?

So this morning I went to the dentist, braced for a lecture about flossing because I’ve been bad about it. I was preemptively inventing a vitamin-allergy that prevented me from remedying the situation, thinking that vitamins were the suggestion from my last visit.

Apparently not, because as I’m relined there with her ice pick slicing along my gums, she says, “How’s the mouth breathing coming along?”

Um. Mouth breathing? I’m sure my face gave me away for being clueless. If she had even a fraction of a personality, I would’ve thought she was making a joke, since mouth-breather is one of my preferred terms for slow people.

Fortunately, her hands were still in my mouth, so I was able to just sort of gargle, which she took as a response.

“You know, you can rub Vaseline on your gums after you floss at night and that will seal in the moisture even if you do mouth breathe while you sleep. That way your gums are less likely to bleed.”

Ah. Apparently I had agreed to being a mouth-breather last visit to get out of a flossing lecture.

Holy shit. I thought it was so bad to admit I’m too lazy to do a pretty basic dental routine that in my supreme judgement I decided it was better to represent myself as a mouth-breather?

Maybe that decision reveals me as one.

6 Responses to “You have to be smarter than the lies you tell.”

  1. Alicia January 11, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    I was going to write, “I don’t mind going to the dentist AND
    I floss every day.” But then you took care of that for me. Thanks. So my next comment is, “Do I floss in front of you?” I do it with Phil, but others? Really? Ewwww…

    p.s. Sadly, flossing does not keep ones gums from receding, so I still have THAT treatment on the far horizon.

    p.p.s. I like visiting the lady doc, too, so maybe I’m just weird.

    • pithypants January 11, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

      Based on your PPS I’m going to guess you’ve never ridden your bike to that appointment.

  2. Alicia January 15, 2011 at 7:23 pm #



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