By Maxwell Rotbart
On the “Baby Gizmo” YouTube account, which has almost 450,000 subscribers, teen vlogger “Savannah” posted a video this past spring teaching America’s parents how to “Floss.”
“I know you parents have old bones [and] I don’t want you to pop a hip…” begins Savannah.
Her video has been seen 3.9 million times.
Savannah isn’t worried that Baby Boomers and members of Gen-X and will require surgery for performing a simple dental task; she and America’s youth have now come to equate Flossing with swaying hips and flailing arms - a popular dance style.
The Floss was originally demonstrated by 14-year-old Russell Horning of suburban Atlanta in a video he posted to Instagram in 2016 of himself boogieing to “One Night,” performed by teen rapper Lil Yachty, also from the Atlanta-area.
Since then, Horning has performed his unique dance on Saturday Night Live - he wore a backpack during that performance, earning him the moniker “Backpack Kid” - and has gained a global celebrity fan base, including from singer Rihanna, who follows him on Instagram.
Comments on a Huffington Post UK story on the Floss dance reflect the bafflement of adults at this latest craze:
Sally Saunders, a grandparent, wrote: “Just another absolutely pointless and annoying action adopted by overactive kids with nothing better to do.”
Jamie Beaglehole, the father of a nine-year-old, wrote: “It's relentless! Poor teachers!”
Ransins Stephens, describing an elementary school basketball game, wrote: “It might just be the most annoying thing I've ever seen.”
Some dentists, however, are getting creative with the fad and its resemblance to the sweeping motions in properly teeth flossing.
Mahoney Family Dentistry in South Bend, IN, posted a video to YouTube showing dentists, office staff members, and patients all flossing their teeth and their hips, with the directive, “Remember to Floss Every Day!”
Robinson & Prijic Family Dental in southern Wisconsin posted a video in April of two juvenile patients attempting to teach Dr. David Robinson the dance. He concludes: “I think I’m just going to stick to flossing my teeth; that’s way too hard.”
Two staff members at Chestnut Dental Associates, with three offices in Massachusetts, sing a jingle in honor of flossing while (attempting) to do the dance:
You just swing your hips,
Side to side,
Floss is boss,
String is king.
Floss is boss,
King is string,
Hey there do you know what I mean?
Floss is boss
And king is a string,
Hey, hey, hey,
That’s what I sing.
So, now, now, now,
Let’s go and do,
The Flossing Dance that’s really cool.
Floss is boss,
King is a string, yeah!
Come on and do,
You know what I mean, yeah!
Floss, floss, floss.
The definition of flossing has clearly changed in the 200-years since Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, a 25-year-old dentist practicing in New Orleans, first advised his patients to weave silk between their teeth to prevent gum disease.
Flossing technology advanced further in 1962, when Aqua Tec, a Fort Collins, Colorado-based company, debuted the oral irrigator - later to be known as the Water Pik - as a device that mechanized the process endorsed by Dr. Parmly.
According to a U.S. News and World Report survey, published in May 2016, despite evidence of flossing-effectiveness dating back to 1815, fewer than one-third of all Americans floss on a daily basis. A 2004 Gallup survey found that only 13% of teenagers floss daily.
Author: Contributing writer Maxwell Rotbart specializes in covering business, education, and history-related topics. He is the author of The State of Israel: Prime Ministers, available from Amazon.com.
Other Recent Incisor Articles by Maxwell Rotbart:
- The Dental Clinic of Tomorrow is Seeing Patients Today
- Tiny Iceland’s World Cup Hopes Rest in the Hands of a Dentist
- The Plight of One Dentist and his $1 Million Student Loan Debt
- Dental Office’s Warning Letter to Parents Ignites a National Debate
- No Longer #1, General Dentistry Remains Among America’s ‘Best Jobs’