The gloss has gone off the floss

74eb79cbf130c877c216ec17127812e8About five years ago, our newly-created Peppercomm’s Comedy Experience Featuring Clayton Fletcher (a professional comedian and rabid anti-dentite) was receiving national business coverage from the likes of MSNBC and Fortune to The Huffington Post and National Public Radio.
At that time, we were positioning PCEFCF as THE ideal way in which to combine the art of comedy with the business of business to improve everything from presentation and listening skills to rapport development and an enhanced culture (Note: Today, we’ve morphed our offering to the increasing number of organizations who have incorporated comedy into their content creation and storytelling to connect with target audiences who possess an attention span of 8.2 seconds.)

But, I digress.

Back in 2012, the biggest and best insurance companies, law firms and pharmaceutical companies were cold-calling us and asking us to help fix what was broken. They were fed up with Stephen Covey lectures, Kaisen and deadly dull trust-building exercises, and were desperately seeking solutions.

Let the record show that we succeeded in our assigned task in every instance save one. The misstep involved closing the communications, productivity and information sharing gaps that existed in a top five global consumer products manufacturer.

We were asked to work with the CPG’s oral hygiene division where, we were told, the floss people hated the toothpaste folks who, in turn, were spat at by the mouthwash scientists. The culture was a Fortune 500 version of George Washington’s decaying, wooden choppers.

Anxious to tackle the new assignment and break down the barriers, we purposely mixed and matched the floss guys with the mouthwash women and added in the toothpaste professionals to ensure these warring factions worked together to solve a common goal: peace in our time.

But, session after session, we ran into unforeseen problems. We pinpointed the gap to the floss guys who simply wouldn’t share information or play nice with their oral care comrades. The HR director confirmed what our examination had uncovered: floss types simply weren’t sharing their plaque-fighting, gum-saving research with others.After two aborted tries, the HR manager admitted failure and extracted us from the dysfunctional operation.

The gloss is off the floss

Now, fast forward five years to a current Associated Press article that showed there was little, if any, proof that flossing works! (Inset link).

The AP asked the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture (do horses floss?) for any, and all, available research that proved flossing did, in fact, prevent gum disease and cavities.

The AP examined 25 separate studies and labeled the evidence as “weak, very unreliable,” “of very low quality,” and “carried a moderate to large potential for bias.” Holy drilling it to the consumer, Batman!

A 2015 review cites, “inconsistent, weak evidence” for flossing and “a lack of efficacy.”

Even Wayne Aldredge, president of the periodontists’ group, acknowledged the weak scientific evidence and the brief duration of many studies.

That’s an ethical and communications gap that makes The Grand Canyon seem like a tiny ditch!

Here’s an industry that’s bilked consumers for millions, if not billions, of dollars extolling the virtues of multi-flavored string that’s now been proven to do absolutely nothing!

No wonder those floss guys we encouraged to play nice with their peers in toothpaste and mouthwash refused to do so much as rinse and spit out their evidence. There was none!

Needless to say, the ADA and AMA are in full crisis mode.

But, where’s the national coverage? And, where are our beloved, and highly respected, PR trades? Why aren’t they investigating a reputational crisis that rivals an impacted wisdom tooth for pain?

At least I can rest a little easier (with a little help from the laughing gas the CPG HR executive gave us a parting gift).

Here I was scratching my head, flossing, brushing and washing my choppers all these years trying to figure out why a proven method ended up making me feel worse than root canal surgery.

It was the damn floss guys! They wouldn’t share what didn’t exist.

I’m a big believer in karma, oral or otherwise. And, I’d like to think there’s a special place in hell reserved for floss types who have glossed over the ineffectiveness of their product for decades.

I’m guessing Satan’s sharpening his drill as we speak and salivating at the thought of flossing body cavities these charlatans couldn’t imagine in their worst nightmares.



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