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Focus on your Teeth: National Flossing Day

Photo By G-Stock Studio on Shutterstock

National Flossing Day puts the focus on how important it is to care for your teeth. This is a yearly reminder to everyone about the role flossing has played in their lives during the past year, as well as to promote change in peoples’ dental hygiene.

The History of the Holiday

Flossing Day has been celebrated since the year 2000 — reminding people of the importance of looking after their teeth. However, it is not known for sure when people started to floss. There is archeological evidence though, in the form of markings on the teeth of found skulls that people used to floss in prehistoric times. But the reinvention of dental floss in the modern times must be attributed to Levi Spear Parmly, a dentist from New Orleans. Parmly invented the first form of dental floss in 1819 and recommended that people should clean their teeth with it daily. Furthermore, Parmly specified, “particular care should be taken to pass the waxed silk in the interstices, and round the necks of the teeth.” The first human-usable, and non-waxed silk floss was produced by the Codman and Shurtleft Company in 1882 and that is when the dental floss became available to the masses. Johnson and Johnson also developed the first patented dental floss in 1898, when toothbrushes were still quite expensive. There are many benefits of flossing; it improves the prevention of plaque buildup, which leads to tartar. By flossing your teeth, you can make them look cleaner and brighter.

How to celebrate it

Celebrating Flossing Day is quite simple – get up and start flossing your teeth (either before or after brushing, but both brushing and flossing are equally important to dental hygiene according to the American Dental Association). The American Dental Association also recommends flossing at least once a day to achieve the best results for oral health. Daily flossing removes plaque from areas between your teeth where a toothbrush is ineffective. Plaque can turn into calculus or tartar so it is important to floss or brush daily. Flossing is also an important step in the prevention of gum disease and cavities. Moreover, regular flossing prevents bad breath and reduces the risks of heart disease as plaque may contain harmful bacteria that can eventually travel to the body's organs, such as the heart. Therefore, flossing daily is necessary to remove the microorganisms so they can't reach the heart through the bloodstream.

The holiday is meant to raise awareness to people who don’t floss often, as well as for your oral health. For restaurants and cafeterias, they can observe Flossing Day by providing dental floss with meals that they serve, and managers in other fields can promote the holiday by giving out dental floss to their employees for the occasion. For those people who are artistically inclined, floss art contests are not unheard of, and this would also be the perfect way to mark the occasion of Flossing Day.