Thanks to Henry Petroski's book, "The Toothpick: Technology and Culture," I've learned that the toothpick has both an illustrious history and some interesting applications. But I wonder what Petroski would say about a group of patents I've categorized as, "addiction hygiene?"
At best, dental floss and toothpicks containing nicotine are another way for smokers jonesing for a fix to get a quick hit delivered to their taste buds and bloodstream. At worst, dental floss and toothpicks containing nicotine are another way for smokers jonesing for a fix to get a quick hit delivered to their taste buds and bloodstream! I mean, is there really any other reason to patent nicotine-laced dental hygiene products other than wanting to tap into the lucrative nicotine junkie market?
It seems the various patentors of these ideas are compassionate people who believe the nicotine disclosure "is useful in alleviating tobacco smokers's urges to smoke." Sounds all warm and fuzzy until you realize the floss and toothpicks give smokers yet another form of cancer to worry about: gum cancer. As far as I'm concerned this makes the act of flossing counterproductive. After all, what good is flossing a diseased mouth? Seems you'd have bigger things to worry about besides getting that piece of popcorn out from between your teeth.
Gum Cancer Causing?
Nevertheless, if you're the kind of smoker whose habit is akin to an alcoholic who desperately resorts to drinking mouthwash in an attempt to get off, then the patents for Nicotine-Containing Dental Floss and a Method for Making a Nicotine Toothpick have got your name on them. If not, then do like alcoholics trying to kick their drinking habit do - find yourself a group of sympathetic people, commit to helping one another along the journey away from addiction and proudly stand up one day smiling with your clean, bright, white teeth, and announce to the world that you are now a former smoker.