Big Girl Badge: In Which I Learn To Floss Regularly

I have good teeth and bad gums. That’s what the dentist bluntly told me the last time I went in, which was about three years since the time before that. (I don’t have dental insurance, okay?) I’ve got some gum recession on my bottom teeth, which is not my fault, but my frenulum’s, so next I saw a periodontist who poked me in the gums repeatedly with no warning and made me bleed before scolding me for not flossing and huffing out.

There’s something wrong with that periodontist if he thinks I’m going to let him put his hands in my mouth again, but there’s also something wrong with my gums. The reason for this is simple: I am a non-flossing degenerate!

In the spirit of trying to take care of myself in a more grown-up fashion, I decided once and for all to start flossing more than every once in a while, when I remember. Here’s how it’s going so far.



One thing that’s probably bad for my dental hygiene is the fact that I wait until the middle of the day to eat breakfast. I wake up as late as possible, then immediately start working, with little time for breaks. Sometimes it can get to be 1pm before I begrudgingly listen to my stomach and get up to make breakfast. It’s usually another hour before I feel like I have time to wash my face/brush my teeth, at which point I am probably BEHIND, and the three minutes it takes to floss seems like an eternity. Which is all to say:

I wait until 3pm to brush my teeth. I skip flossing, saying I will do it later.


I am tired and a little bit sick, but I go to some parties anyway because it’s the weekend, y’all!, and I want to see my friends. One of said parties has vegan donuts at it, which are covered in a tasty, tooth-ruining glaze. By 2:30am, I can barely keep my eyes open, and it’s all I can do to stay conscious as I drag myself into bed and turn off the light. I do not manage to take my bra off, let alone floss.



I really, seriously, and truly mean to floss today, but I’m running late for another of my big girl goals (namely exercise), so I skip it. Why is it so hard for me to find three minutes to do this very simple thing?


I un-stick myself from the couch to go cover a concert in the rain, after which I go to my friend’s birthday party, after which I go to a mansion party my friends are throwing in Bushwick called the Trip House. I am slightly inebriated when I arrive home at 5am, but I’m determined not to fail at this. I floss, drunkenly. It’s a fucking blood bath.



I do not have anywhere to be today, only an article I must turn in by 2pm and one due later. I turn in my article, then go to brunch, then brush and floss. Progress!


I have my second article to write and I am so, so tired by the time I am done. And yet, I manage to floss again. It’s another blood bath.



Running late as usual, but I still manage to floss. It doesn’t take long at all, really. Why was this so hard for me for so long?


I’m tired, but I floss once again. I notice with some disgust that all kinds of crap comes out from between my teeth that I guess was just chilling there until it disintegrated before.



I think it’s safe to say that flossing is now part of my routine. And I might be imagining things, but my gums seem to be bleeding less when disturbed.

Next step: buying my own floss so I can stop using my roommates’. Sorry guys!

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    • Cat

      Im in the same boat! For some reason, dental hygiene routines have never stuck for me, and I used to look at flossing like “why bother, its prob unnecessary if I brush enough and use mouthwash occasionally” until I went to the dentist for the first time in a few years and had a ton of cavities to fill (or re-fill) that have gotten so bad to the point that im probably going to have to get a few crowns put in before im 30 (im 24 now). Apparently I have a special kind of teeth that dont ‘touch’ all the way down to the gums, so its super easy for food to get stuck and rot there and cause bad cavities. For the past month ive been trying to re-vamp my dental routine, but so far managing to floss 3-4x a week has been a major victory. Im still working on brushing my teeth before bed (horrible I know – how do i even qualify as a legal adult?) because Im usually too lazy/tired to do so. But hopefully I’ll earn my Flossing/Dental Hygiene badge soon enough!

    • Cat

      Oh and i forgot to include my one useful tip! My friend turned me onto these flossing tools called ‘plackers’ or somesuch that are usually advertised towards kids and old ppl who dont have the dexterity to floss w regular floss string. They make flossing super easy and I can definitely credit my new flossing habits to them.

    • Fabel

      I never neglect brushing my teeth, but yeah, I could never get a handle on flossing, either. My gums at those two bottom teeth are receeding as well, although my hygenist blames lack of flossing & teeth grinding equally– you might want to make sure you’re not grinding at night! Aside of fucking up the enamel, it also shifts your teeth at the root & causes gum recession (apparently :( )

    • Lauren

      I have horrible gums. It’s 50% hereditary and 50% me being a lazy fuck who just cannot be bothered to floss as often as I should. I’m doing better at a whopping 2 times a week.

      But I notice the same thing about when I floss more regularly, my gums don’t bleed anymore. I’ve been using this floss from Reach I believe, “Gum Care” and it’s written in pink on a white box (in case it’s not by Reach at all). It’s soft floss with fluoride on it to help heal your gums better. My dentist recommended it. I also use Gum Care toothpaste from Crest (that one I’m sure of) and my dentist said my gums look a lot better since I started using that.