CRIME
10/19/2012 11:20 am ET Updated Oct 19, 2012

Joel Flores, Other Inmates Sue Sheriff Over Not Getting Dental Floss In Florida Jail

Behind the bars of a Palm Beach County jail cell, you're denied your freedom, your privacy -- and your dental floss.

Four Florida men are now armed to the teeth with reasons why they should receive this standard tool of oral hygiene.

The Palm Beach County inmates filed civil lawsuits against Sheriff Ric Bradshaw this month, complaining the jail provides no access to dental floss, WPBF reports.

Joel Flores, who is currently jailed on a robbery charge, filed his suit on Oct. 1. The 23-year-old, who has been charged with 10 crimes in the past 12 months, writes that floss is "impossible to use as directed by the American Dental Association," according to the Sun Sentinel. He claims he suffers from pain, discomfort, tooth decay and oral abscesses a result.

Three other inmates have followed Flores' lead and filed additional lawsuits.

Juan Perez, a 44-year-old arrested for selling cocaine, states that his loose teeth are "ready to fall out due to extreme plaque."

Between them, the four inmates involved in the lawsuit have been arrested a total of 73 times.

Sheriff Bradshaw is unsympathetic to their grievances.

"I don't care if they file 400 suits, they're not getting it," he said, according to the Sun. "This isn't the Ritz-Carlton."

He told the paper that inmates typically don't receive dental floss because the strands can be fashioned into a rope or weapon.

If a person is concerned about flossing regularly, Bradshaw would advise him or her, "Don't go to jail."

Last month, eleven inmates in New York filed a similar lawsuit, citing cavities, bleeding gums, constant dental work and mental anguish as the effects of not having floss.

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