National Flossing Day Date in the current year: November 29, 2024

National Flossing Day National Flossing Day is celebrated annually on the day after Thanksgiving. It was created to remind people of the importance of dental hygiene, especially after holiday meals.

Dental floss is a thin cord used to clean the areas in between the teeth to remove food and dental plaque where the bristles of the toothbrush cannot reach. The first form of dental floss is believed to have been invented in the early 19th century by Levi Spear Parmly, a dentist from New Orleans, who recommended his patients to clean between the teeth using a waxed silk thread.

However, dental floss didn’t become commercially available until 1882, when the medical and surgical instruments company Codman and Shurtleff started producing unwaxed silk floss. The first patent for dental floss was issued to Johnson & Johnson in 1898; the company’s floss was made from the same material that surgeons used for silk stitches.

Floss wasn’t particularly popular among consumers during the first half of the 20th century. The situation slowly began to change after World War II, in no small part thanks to the invention of nylon dental floss by American medical doctor Charles C. Bass. Nylon was found to be a better material for dental floss than silk because of its greater durability and ability to be produced at various sizes and in great lengths. Flossing became a common part of oral cleaning in North America in the 1970s.

Why is flossing important? Isn’t brushing your teeth enough to keep them clean? The thing is, up to 40% of your tooth surfaces are interdental and thus miss being cleaned if you only use a toothbrush that cannot reach between the teeth. Food debris and plaque accumulating between the teeth cause bad breath, gum inflammation (gingivitis), and tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, proper flossing helps remove up to 80% of plaque from between the teeth and below the gums.

There are many types and forms of dental floss products for you to choose from, including unwaxed nylon floss, waxed nylon floss, and polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) floss. To make flossing easier, you can try a floss pick (a device that consists of dental floss and a plastic handle) or a power flosser (an electric device that produces a stream of water or jets of air with tiny water droplets to help you clean between the teeth and around the gumline).

National Flossing Day was launched in 2000 by the National Flossing Council, created four years prior to popularize dental floss and flossing. It is celebrated on the day after Thanksgiving Day because Thanksgiving is a very food-centric holiday, and it is very important to floss after meals, especially abundant holiday meals including meat, starchy foods, and sugary desserts.

You can celebrate National Flossing Day by learning more about the history of dental floss and the benefits of flossing, taking a pledge to pay more attention to your dental hygiene and start flossing regularly, and spreading the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #NationalFlossingDay.

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National Flossing Day, holidays in the US, unofficial holidays, dental floss, oral hygiene, dental hygiene