In the field of dentistry, gadgets for your pearly whites have tracked along fairly well with advancements in technology. You can now buy Bluetooth-enabled toothbrushes and let a robot drill holes in your mouth to place a dental implant. But one too often overlooked practice that hasn’t yet been modernized is flossing. No matter how much you hate it, flossing is hugely important, not just for your oral health, but for your overall health. We’ll spare you the usual dentist spiel on the benefits of flossing, but we will say that a recent study showed that a staggering 1 in 3 people have never flossed their teeth.
The founders of a company called Smile Care Club realized that this statistic could be improved with technology and a little bit of ingenuity. They created Flosstime, a device that reminds you to floss every day and automatically dispenses the perfect length of floss. Before you roll your eyes at such a niche gadget and mentally accept an hour of painful poking and prodding of your gums during your next check-up, know that Flosstime is actually effective. According to a survey from Smile Care Club, users who had previously never flossed are now flossing four times a week with the help of Flosstime, and those who floss occasionally increased their flossing frequency by more than two days per week.
Flosstime is a round, white plastic device that clocks in at about the size of a coffee mug sliced horizontally. The entire face of the device is a button that dispenses the floss, save for a small notch at the 12 o’clock position where exactly 18 inches of floss is dispensed with every push. Around the edge of the face are indicator lights. When it’s been 22 hours since your last flossing session, the device will light up. When the floss is dispensed, a blue light will travel along the edge to act as a flossing timer. The bottom half of the lights will illuminate blue in a somewhat of a “smile” after the two minutes are up. If you forget to floss, the top half of the lights illuminate orange as kind of a “frown”. It’s a simple, but attractive and effective design. Between the indicator lights and the sound of the motor after 22 hours, we were well reminded every day!
Other features include colorful snap-on faceplates that turn Flosstime into an animal to help encourage kids to start forming good flossing habits. And if you share the bathroom with a sibling or significant other, there’s a two-person mode that allows each person to use it by pressing either the left or right side of the front button and then following the indicator lights on their respective side.
On the back of Flosstime is a small switch to turn the device off or toggle between one- and two-person modes. There’s also a plastic plate with adhesive to mount it on a mirror and to keep the two standard AA batteries and floss cartridge in place. A word about the floss cartridges: they are proprietary and each hold 50 meters of Oral-B Glide Comfort brand floss (about 3 months worth for a single user). Replacement cartridges can be purchased for $6 each, or $5 on subscription. That’s about $.10 per meter, slightly higher compared to the price of Oral-B floss at our local CVS, which costs as low as $.08 per meter.
Overall, if you struggle to floss on a daily basis, or if you’re trying to get your kids into a daily habit of flossing, this is about as simple as it can get. There are no apps to deal with, no charging required, and no complicated button presses. While Flosstime might not be for everyone, we can see how it can be effective at reminding users to floss. However, we’re not huge fans of the proprietary floss cartridges when the same floss can be found cheaper and conveniently available elsewhere. But for some, perhaps that’s a small price to pay to avoid the pain of diseased gums and expensive dental fillings.
More info and link to purchase Flosstime: Flosstime website…