Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mental Floss

By Julie Rahm
This video was mental floss for me! "Two dogs dining..."

Dental floss is a bundle of thin filaments for removing food and plaque from teeth. It is usually made from nylon, polyethylene or Teflon. Even silk can be used. As you know, dental floss can be waxed or unwaxed. And, it can be flavored or unflavored. In the Victorian era, and before dental floss, toothpicks were all the rage. Charles Dickens owned a toothpick inlaid with ivory and engraved with his initials. It retracted into its own handle like a tiny spyglass. Then, along came Dr. Levi Spear Parmly. Dr. Parmly was a dentist from New Orleans and is credited with inventing dental floss. As early as 1815, he was recommending people should clean between their teeth with silk floss. But, silk was expensive and not readily available.
It wasn’t until 1882 that dental floss became commercially available to consumers. In 1882, the Codman and Shurtleft Company started producing human-usable unwaxed silk floss. Then in 1898, the Johnson & Johnson Corporation received the first patent for dental floss. Other early brands were Red Cross, Salter Sill and Brunswick. Still, there was not much flossing before the 1940’s. However, it was during the 1940’s that Dr. Charles C. Bass developed nylon floss. Nylon floss was found to be better than silk because of its greater abrasion resistance and elasticity. Now, due to environmental concerns, dental floss is biodegradable.
Dentists and Hygienists urge frequent tooth brushing and flossing. Nearly all Americans brush their teeth. However, studies indicate only 10 to 40 percent of Americans floss their teeth on a daily basis. But, my intention this week is not to “wow” you with the comprehensive history of dental floss! To learn more, you could vacation with your family to the National Museum of Dentistry located in Baltimore, Maryland. (Yikes!) But, back to my point, I tell you all about dental floss to set the background for another useful metaphor: mental floss.
Mental floss is perfect for removing unhealthy plaque from your psyche. As an example, the holidays are here. And, perhaps the holidays arrive with some unhealthy memories of previous holidays gone bad. Even further, these memories can produce bad moods or depression. For these maladies, I advocate the use of mental floss for your mind. When unhealthy memories encroach on your holiday happiness, take a good long strand of mental floss and start working it against those bad experiences. Get those bad memories and their triggers loose from your mind so you can rinse them down the drain. One bad memory at a time, work your mental floss back and forth. Realize the past is over and now is the moment to move on. Resolving the past ensures your brighter future. One of my clients actually flosses her teeth and bad memories at the same time. Simultaneously, she uses dental and mental floss! 
For more, visit my website at and learn why I am a “Resultant” not a consultant.

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