Flossing Day is celebrated on the fourth Friday in November (i.e., the Friday after Thanksgiving), which is November 24 this year. The holiday stresses the importance of flossing your teeth every day for excellent oral health. Can you believe that horsehair was used as dental floss before the invention of the modern floss we use today?
History of Flossing Day
Before the beginning of written history, humans have used a wide variety of materials like dental floss. Based on anthropological evidence found in ancient humans, horsehair was used as one of the first types of dental floss. Toothpicks and chew sticks with sharpened points are also two of the tools early humans employed for interdental cleaning.
In 1815, Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, a New Orleans dentist, created the earliest iteration of the modern dental floss. It was a thin, waxen silk thread that he encouraged his patients to clean between their teeth. This thread was readily available everywhere because it was used in tailoring. Four years later, Dr. Parmly published his dental book, “A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth.” In the book, he recommended brushing twice a day and flossing once every day.
In 1882, the Codman and Shurtleff Company began producing unwaxed silk floss, marketed as dental floss. In 1898, Johnson & Johnson patented dental floss and began producing all types of waxed and unwaxed dental floss. Johnson & Johnson’s dental floss used the same silk material as surgical stitches.
However, in the 1940s, silk became expensive because of the war, causing the price of silk dental floss to skyrocket. Dr. Charles Bass introduced the idea of replacing silk with nylon. The idea received traction and later led to the invention of dental tape.
Dental floss has since evolved and now comes in different textures, materials, and flavors. They are also made to fit different mouths’ shapes and sizes. In 2000, the National Flossing Council created Flossing Day to remind everyone of the importance of flossing.
Flossing Day timeline
Early humans, according to anthropology, use horsehair as one of the tools for flossing.
Dr. Levi Spear Parmly publishes his dental book, where he advises brushing twice and flossing once per day.
Because of World War II, silk becomes expensive, causing the price of dental floss to skyrocket.
The National Flossing Council launches Flossing Day to raise awareness on flossing once every day.
Flossing Day FAQs
When should I floss, before or after brushing?
The best practice recommends that you floss before you brush your teeth.
What happens when you floss every day?
Flossing every day helps remove food particles and prevent plaque buildup between your teeth and areas where your brush cannot reach. Overall, flossing every day can help improve your oral hygiene.
Is missing one day of flossing bad?
No, as long as you don’t miss frequently. Always aim to floss once a day — in the morning, during the day, between meals, or at night.
How to Observe Flossing Day
Commit to flossing at least once a day
Flossing is not only essential to your oral health but also your overall health. So by committing to flossing once a day, you’re committing to keeping yourself healthy. Schedule a time — 2 to 3 minutes — every day when you would floss.
Visit the dentist
If you haven’t visited the dentist in a long while, here is the perfect time to do that. Book an appointment with a dentist or check your calendar for your closest free day and make that appointment. Remember that your oral health is your overall health.
Educate other people about the health benefits of flossing
Flossing Day is all about raising awareness of the importance of flossing to people’s oral health. You can contribute to that effort by encouraging your family and friends to floss every day. Also, you can use social media to influence people within your network to start flossing.
5 Interesting Facts You Don’t Know About Your Teeth
Teeth are not bones
Although the human teeth and bones are primarily made up of the same material and contain nerves and blood, teeth do not produce bone marrow – unlike bones.
They’re the hardest substance in the body
Contrary to popular opinion, tooth enamel is harder than bone, making it the hardest part of the body.
Teeth can’t self-repair
Because teeth are coated in enamel, which is not living tissue, they cannot repair themselves once damaged.
Teeth are unique to each person
Like your tongue print and fingerprint, no one has the same set of teeth as you do.
A 200 lbs bite force
The bite force of an adult human is almost comparable to that of a pit bull, which is 235 lbs.
Why Flossing Day is Important
Flossing keeps your teeth healthy
According to the American Dental Association (A.D.A.), employing interdental cleaners such as floss help prevent the buildup of plaque in-between the teeth. Without flossing, the plaque buildup can lead to gum disease or cavities.
Flossing promotes overall body health
Excellent oral health means a healthy body. The mouth is the window to various parts of your body, including the heart, and when it’s not properly taken care of, it causes several health complications.
Flossing is good for your appearance
In addition to other good oral practices, such as brushing, flossing helps ensure healthy gums, whiter teeth, and a brighter smile.
Flossing Day dates