Friday, December 13, 2013

New Officers at the National Flossing Council

This is an exciting time for the National Flossing Council because we have several new superb officers! 

They will continue a tradition we share with other online organizations, including Facebook, Zynga and Google - working for a single digit salary.

Long time supporter of the NFC, Leanne Mitchell in Melbourne, AU ( is now Vice President of International Communications & Media.

In her past efforts, Leanne linked the NFC with the funny, high concept, sci-fi video, Dentally Disturbed

Mike Letschin is now Chief Social Media Officer. Mike has begun moving the NFC into the twitterverse. Mike can be contacted by email,, or on twitter @doyoufloss

Noah Jacobson ( is now National Flossing Council Counsel.

Noah has provided counsel on a number of past projects and captured our famed pictures of a wild Thai monkey flossing.


Dr. Chip Tartaroff, Chief Dental Officer and Spokesperson of the NFC,, can now also be reached on twitter @drctartaroff

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

National Flossing Day is Fri, Nov. 29!

What day always comes after Thanksgiving? National Flossing Day, of course!
This year that will be Nov. 29.
To promote interest in that day and flossing in general, the NFC has released a video featuring Baby Animals Flossing
After you watch the video, visit to read the official proclamation for National Flossing Day. 
Also, you can now check out the History of National Flossing Day videos.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Flossing!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

National Brush Your Teeth Day is Nov. 1

Hey Kids,
Get that Halloween candy out of your teeth!
Floss and brush on Nov. 1
The Ad Council has some 2 min videos for you.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Is Flossing BS?

As one of the few people who have watched a video on Discovery News (I was surprised by how many have 0 views - Is it Anthony's voice?), their video for Oct 15, Flossing if BS!, of course got my attention.
The gist of the video is that various studies have failed to show that flossing makes much of a difference in the long term health of your mouth.
Another item that's included is the assertion that "professional" flossing was effective compared to the flossing routines of children.
Where to begin?
A few years ago, this matter caught my attention after I heard it being discussed among a group of dental public health professionals.
The claim that "professional" flossing was effective particularly interested me.  What is a professional flosser?  What tricks do they know that other mere flossing mortals can't aspire to?
It turns out that the claim about "professional" flossers was applied to a few mothers who were given simple flossing instructions in order to floss kids teeth daily in a school study.  The kids who didn't get flossed by the Mom's didn't do so well in comparison - is it possible kids who don't floss sometimes say they do? The study showed flossing worked and kids probably don't floss or floss well enough to compare with an adult.  There isn't a good study involving adults that's really shown whether flossing decreases cavities or gum disease.  But, keep in mind, it's hard to show an effect on things like decay that happen slowly and may be affected by a number of things like diet and tooth health.
Anthony, you and your video crew, may have missed a lot of info, but I've seen people with a lot more special training (and better voices), miss out on the same stuff.
If you want more details about this topic, and a fuller explanation of the problems with showing that flossing makes a difference in the long term health of your mouth, please check out this "White Paper" we posted in 2011 to explain the story.
Meanwhile, keep in mind what Anthony commented on in his video, if you want a mouth that's not really clean, don't floss.  Whether or not flossing will pay off long term, you know it cleans better than brushing alone.  That's something even monkeys have figured out!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cutting Food With Floss

You've probably seen something about this elsewhere on the web, so it's about time it gets mentioned here:
Floss can be a handy tool to cut a variety of foods - especially soft items like cheese and cake.
Here's a 1 min video that will get you started using floss around the kitchen.

Using Dental Floss to Cut Your Food

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Flossguard Monster

I'm sure it's well intended, and it may even help people floss, but this new product for flossing, the Flossguard, looks like an evil thing you wouldn't want to get too close to your face.
Didn't the designers ever watch a Transformer movie?

You can read one of the recent press rewrites, here

Monday, July 29, 2013

What's the Odds of A Hurricane Hitting Hawaii? What About a Hurricane Named "Flossie?"

Hey, with the whole Pacific to roam around, who thought Flossie would find Hawaii???
At first, it seemed nice to have a storm as a vague reminder of floss.  Now, it's a public menace!

Well, we wish all the best to the people of the Aloha State, especially Jon P, our official NFC representative, in Hilo!
Thanks a lot for the name, Weather Service!  How about naming the next storm "Plaque?"

Friday, July 19, 2013

Floss Magic Trick

Here's a magic trick you can do using floss!
He's just saying it's "stupid."
(First he does the trick, then he shows how you can do it too.)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Flossing Before or After Brushing?

Our friends in the dental assistant program at Everest College have put together another graphic about How NOT to Brush Your Teeth.

The last item in the list of dental care things NOT to do is "Flossing after Brushing." The text says that this will only bring some of the benefits of flossing, and flossing before brushing will "improve your oral health."

Well, this is a widely discussed topic - in dental offices and on the web. Personally, the logic of cleaning away the big particles with floss and using the brush to clean the uncovered surfaces seems reasonable to me. But the broader view of "You just floss any time you want," will probably be adequate to promote dental health and prevent anyone from feeling like they're flossing wrong.

Consider that most studies suggest that only a small fraction of people actually floss with any regularity. And, as discussed earlier, proving the effectiveness of flossing is as difficult as proving the specific effects of any behavior in slow onset conditions like tooth decay and gum disease.

So, let's say you should floss. If the "get the big stuff & brush clean-up" idea appeals to you, floss before brushing. Floss after brushing - which will eventually be followed by more brushing - and you'll still get cleaning in those tough places between teeth!

BTW: The graphic assembled by the future dental assistants at Everest College mentions certain brushing angles and patterns that should be avoided. If anyone is looking for a challenge when brushing and wants to introduce some new cleaning angles into their brushing routine - try holding your brush with your other hand while you clean your teeth.  It's tough, but it will probably clean some new spots.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Oldest Printed Reference to Dental Floss (1820)

Here's a picture of a wild monkey in Thailand flossing.  There are a lot of modern pictures and video of primates flossing and there are a lot of ancient human skulls with grooves between their teeth that suggest people have been flossing for a long time (more on that in a future post).

Dental historians, such as Drs Matthew Sanoudos and Arden Christen of  Indiana University, have detailed the writings of Levi Spear Parmly, who suggested the use of waxed silk to clean between teeth in the early 1800s (1). Parmly's writings seem to be the oldest printed references to dental floss.

You can read the 3 lectures Parmly gave in New York City in 1820 with this online link (and save the $1.50 (now $20) it would have cost you for admission).

Parmly didn't go into the details of flossing in the lectures.  Here's the key page that describes floss from the end of the third lecture.


1. Sanoudos M, Christen AG. Levi Spear Parmly: the apostle of dental hygiene. J Hist Dent. 1999 Mar;47(1):3-6.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Floss & Dental Products Recycling - Free!

Tom's of Maine has started a program where you, or a group you work, with can collect empty floss containers, toothpaste tubes and other dental products and send them free of charge by way of UPS to be recycled.
In fact, you and your group can earn $0.01 for each item you recycle.
Here's a short video that explains the Tom's of Maine program:

I believe this will also be a site where you can send  your used floss picks, which are now made by several companies.

Although handy for some flossers, they've become a very conspicuous litter item on streets and in parks.  Recycling them would give them a good place to go after their short life.

For more info on TerraCycle and to download details on collecting and shipping items for recycling, click here.

Floss on! (and Recycle)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Want to Stay Healthy? Top 2 Ways: Sex & Floss!

Thanks to our Aussie Chief Correspondent, Leanne, for sending the Infographic for Jan 17, 2013, posted on!

10 Strange Ways to Stay Healthy

Of course, #1 was "Have Sex (once or twice a week)."
But following closely at #2 was "Floss."

The infographic was created by Everest College to promote their Medical Assistant Training Program. Great job!

Floss On!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Do You Use a Floss Holder?

Dr. Chip Tartaroff got a question about Floss Holders.

Dear Dr. T
You  make no mention of any of the numerous floss-holders that are available. I never used to floss until I almost lost 8 of my back teeth due to the roots having decayed to the degree that I had to have surgery where the gums had to be cut and lifted off the teeth so that the decayed area of the roots could be 'scratched off'.
This was an agonizing ordeal that had to be done over a month and took four separate surgeries, one for each quarter of the mouth.
It was such a shock for me that I spent hours on the internet searching for a simplified, if not easier, way to floss. Flossing was just too difficult to do. I came across 2 different items for sale and have been flossing daily ever since. (The 2 gadgets I bought are good).
Yet you never mention any of the items sold for making flossing easy, or at least easier. Why? Is it because you don't believe these gadgets work? Or is it because you will be accused of 'pushing' a product in the form of indirect advertising?
Ivan P

Dear Ivan,
Thanks for your note!
I'll start my reply from the end of what you wrote – I haven't talked about floss holders because I don't use them and no one, before you, has asked about them. It's also true that I'm not interested in “pushing” particular products.
As I say in another spot, I think flossing will have helpful effects whether it's done with string from a sewing box or a fine designer “tea tree” floss. I guess I should add “or with a floss holder.”
Cleaning between your teeth where food and crud can sit – out of reach of a toothbrush – is what flossing is all about. What kind of floss and how you get the floss there aren't too important.
But some people, like you, find the addition of a floss holder makes flossing much easier and convenient, and it actually gets them to floss. Which is why I'm very happy you wrote to let others know your experience!
In my back teeth, I have some old amalgam fillings that catch floss if I try to pull it up and out, so I like having a free end on my floss to slide it out from between my teeth. That limits my use of those small y shaped floss holders and keeps me a “free rangin' flosser” with no holder at all.
I'm very happy to hear you have done so well with the floss holders you've found (I checked back with Ivan and found he particularly likes “floss rings”*).
Other readers are encouraged to send word of their experience with other floss holders (good or bad) to share. This isn't a site for “pushing products,” but it is a place you can share your honest experience with flossing aids/gadgets.
Floss on, Ivan!

Dr. T.

*Floss Rings were developed by Sean Dix in the 1990s. Apparently, Mr. Dix is not one who believes “Any press is good press.” After a bad report on floss rings on CNN and a long period of frustration about getting his side of the product story told, Sean Dix feigned a threat on the life of Ted Turner to get attention to his complaints. The tactic got him 2 years in jail. For a telling of the full story: