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牙线是谁发明的?
Who Made That Dental Floss?

[2018年4月16日] 来源:纽约时报 作者:PAGAN KENNEDY   字号 [] [] []  

In the early 1800s, a pioneering dentist, Levi Spear Parmly, urged patients to clean between their teeth with silk thread — a revolutionary technique that could protect the gum line and prevent tooth decay. But “people just didn’t get it,” says Dr. Scott Swank, curator of the National Museum of Dentistry. In an era during which rotting molars were the norm, he says, “people expected their teeth to fall out.”

在19世纪早期,先锋牙医利瓦伊·斯皮尔·帕姆利(Levi Spear Parmly)鼓励病人用丝线清洁牙缝,这种革新方法能够保护牙龈、预防龋齿。但是“人们就是不能理解”,美国国家牙医学博物馆的馆长斯科特·斯旺克(Scott Swank)博士这样说。他说,在那个年代,臼齿腐烂很常见,“人们觉得牙齿脱落很正常”。

The Victorians also loved their toothpicks. After dinner, a gentleman would produce a leather box, reach into its velvet-lined interior, withdraw his gold pick and begin grooming. Charles Dickens owned a toothpick inlaid with ivory and engraved with his initials; it retracted into its own handle like a tiny spyglass. Flossing might have been more effective, but how could it compete with the flash of the toothpick? Back then, silk thread came in unwieldy spools and had to be cut into lengths with a knife. Worse, using it required you to put your fingers into your mouth.

另外,维多利亚时代的人们很喜欢牙签。饭后,绅士们拿出皮制的盒子,从天鹅绒衬里中取出金制的牙签,开始清洁牙齿。查尔斯·狄更斯(Charles Dickens)有一个牙签,上面镶着象牙,镌刻着他名字的首字母,还能像小望远镜一样缩回到套中。用牙线清洁牙齿可能更有效,但是它怎么能跟闪闪发亮的牙签相比呢?那时候,丝线都是缠在线轴上的,不好处理,必须得用小刀割成合适的长度。更大的问题是,用牙线的话,你得把手指伸到嘴里。

In the 1870s, Asahel Shurtleff helped to civilize floss when he patented the first dispenser: a bobbin of thread with a U-shaped prong sticking out of its side. The prong worked like a tiny metal hand, guiding floss between the teeth. His invention anticipated the portable floss holders you can now buy in drugstores.

19世纪70年代,阿萨赫尔·舒特莱夫(Asahel Shurtleff)申请了第一个牙线支架专利,从而促进了牙线的普及。这个支架是一个旁边伸出U型叉子的线轴。那个叉子相当于一个迷你的金属手,引导牙线在牙齿间穿行。这就是你现在能在药店里买到的便携式牙线支架的前身。

Designers have since given us bubble-gum-flavored floss, Gore-Tex strands and tooth-shaped dispensers — all in an attempt to make flossing seem fun or at least not too difficult. Recent studies, meanwhile, have revealed that flossing might be one of the simplest ways to ward off tooth decay. Yet, Swank says: “People still don’t care. Or they don’t want to put their hands in their mouths.” Two centuries on, flossing remains the quintessential thing that we forget — and hate — to do.

此后,设计师们给我们设计出了泡泡糖口味的牙线、“戈尔-特克斯”(Gore-Tex)纤维做的牙线以及牙齿形状的支架,所有这些都是为了让用牙线清洁牙齿看上去很有趣,或者至少不是太难。另外,最近的研究表明:用牙线清洁牙齿可能是最简单的其中一种预防龋齿的方法。但是,斯旺克说:“人们仍然不够重视。或许是因为他们不想把手放到嘴里。”两个世纪过去了,我们仍然忘记或者讨厌使用牙线这个最有效的方法。

Gary Roma is producing a documentary about dental floss.

加里·罗马(Gary Roma)正在制作一部关于牙线的纪录片。

You’re seriously working on a feature-length movie about floss? After making my documentary about doorstops, I decided to continue mining the mundane for meaning.

你真的在拍摄一部关于牙线的长篇电影吗?在拍完关于门挡的记录片之后,我决定继续挖掘平凡事物的意义。

You managed to catch on film a monkey, flossing with a piece of string. How? Serendipity. I was filming in a zoo for another project. On cue, a monkey grabbed a rope, pulled out a strand and began flossing.

你在电影中拍到了一只猴子用细线清洁牙齿的画面,你是怎么做到的?那是机缘巧合。当时我正在动物园里拍摄另一部影片。恰好在这个时候,一只猴子抓住一根绳子,扯下一根线,开始清洁牙齿。

You interviewed two inmates who tried to escape from a prison using dental floss. What was their method? They used several miles of floss to create two braided rope ladders, enabling them to scale a 40-foot prison wall.

你采访了两个试图用牙线越狱的囚犯。他们具体是怎么做的?他们用几英里长的牙线编了两个绳梯,爬上了40英尺高的狱墙。

Is it true that you’re planning to raise money for your movie by selling vintage floss containers online? I likely have the largest dental-floss collection in the world — nearly 200 pieces. I plan to auction it off so I can hire an editor to whittle down 100 hours of floss footage.

你计划在网上销售古董牙线盒来为你的电影筹资,是这样吗?我可能是世界上收集牙线最多的人——大概收集了200件。我计划把它们拍卖了,这样我就能雇个编辑来剪辑100小时长的关于牙线的镜头。

本文最初发表于2012年10月21日。

翻译:王艳

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