THE WORKING STIFF – By Darren Garnick
“Future Sox Lead Tooth Brigade: Lowell Spinner fans shoot for world dental flossing record”
June 29, 2011
Dental hygienist Sue Gagnon will have a nightmarish patient in mind tonight as she attempts to help set a world record for the most people flossing their teeth at the same time.
She’s convinced that the man only brushes two times a year – when he visits her chair – creating a thick coating of “cottage cheese” plaque for the staff to scrape.
“This patient is certainly the extreme,” says Gagnon, who works for Dracut dentists Howard Zetlan, Bruce Rubin and Carol Rice. “But 50 percent of the people I see don’t tell me the truth about flossing. I don’t even need to ask the question.”
The hygienist will be one of thousands of Lowell Spinners fans at LeLacheur Park to floss their teeth simultaneously in the fourth inning, led by the baseball team’s fanged alligator mascots and “Bristles” the walking toothbrush, a character sponsored by her bosses.
Players on the Spinners, the Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and the Tri-City Valley Cats (Houston Astros), also will be given Glide floss picks – a joint promotion between Procter and Gamble and the Massachusetts Dental Society. The MDS approached the Spinners with the idea based on the team’s previous Guinness Book of World Records attempts for most people simultaneously popping bubble wrap (2010) and the world’s largest game of Duck-Duck-Goose (2004).
According to Spinners spokesman Jon Boswell, there is no current official dental flossing record on the books. The stadium’s seating capacity is 5,035, not including standing room only tickets.
There were 3,692 fans who popped bubble wrap last year, a number verified by Spinners interns assigned to count the deflated plastic squares. The Spinners are veterans at dental hygiene promotions. Their Bristles toothbrush mascot has its own baseball card and bobblehead doll.
“We’ve had a bunch of dentists’ offices call our ticket office and say they want to be part of this,” Boswell says. “We’re in the business of making memories. Fans might not remember years from now who won the game, but they’ll remember being part of a zany world record.”
Acknowledging that ushers cannot enforce mandatory flossing, the Spinners plan to submit video footage and photographs of participating fans to Guinness officials along with statistics for how many Glide picks were distributed at the gate.
Immediately after the stunt, staff will be going down the aisles with trash bags to collect the refuse. Boswell says the U-shaped plastic picks, which hold about a two-inch strand, have a “huge advantage” over traditional floss.
“We don’t want to be finding stray pieces under the seats for the rest of the season,” he says.