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Offering Single Floss Packets at Restaurants


Armand
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Hello, Armand here.

I'm a new member of this list serve. I've been living in Washington for almost 30 years, working mostly as a toxicologist.

About 12 years ago, I started a website, www.flossing.org, with the grandiose name of the National Flossing Council (NFC). Today, it’s still just a website which has one stated goal: “Help Spread ‘’Peace of Mouth.’”

Since you can’t really enjoy a great meal if something in your mouth is bothering you, I’m writing for input about a matter that may interest others, like myself, who enjoy both food and floss.

Dentists have been hollering at people for years to get them to floss, so instead at the NFC we use advertising techniques to spread the word. Among other things, we’ve given awards to Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres for their efforts to promote floss. We gave the “Floscar” to the best of five movies that included floss. Last year, we declared Jon Voight, “Public Flosser #1,” after he was reported to floss before a Senate meeting.

Since 2000, we’ve promoted “National Flossing Day” – always the day after Thanksgiving – and last year, in a top down sort of effort, we publicly asked McDonald’s Corp to consider offering floss packets with their meals, eg. “Would you like floss with that?”

As an outgrowth of that effort, two groups who print customized single floss packets (.04 each in batches of 10K) have contacted us. This year, in a bottom-up type effort, we're trying to get specific restaurants (as well as hotels and health related groups) to begin offering these floss/advertising items to their customers.

For restaurants, the era of the advertising matchbook is over. Places that sell steaks, chicken, or any food that gets stuck between teeth, could charm their customers with a floss packet that includes all their contact info. The packets could be left out for use in rest rooms (as is done in some Brazilian steak houses) or tucked in with the check (instead of candies).

I’m posting here to ask for comments and suggestions by those of you who know food and restaurants about possibilities for this effort.

This year, for National Flossing Day (Nov. 28, 2008) we will issue a press release and mention all groups who have decided to start distributing floss packets.

Thanks for your interest!

Best wishes,

Armand

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In all seriousness, what's wrong with a toothpick?

Dude, toothpicks break off in between your teeth if you go in deep for the really annoying fibrous masses. Then you need to floss anyway.

The problem with floss packets is that you're being asked to follow a (hopefully) relaxing and sensuous experience by going through a hygiene exercise recommended by your dentist.

Parallel concept: "Wow, that was amazing sex. Before we get dressed, lets swab our genitals with this doctor-recommended anti-microbial."

Kind of a buzzkill.

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Several years ago, Jlock and I were at the Birchmere at one of the long tables in the front eating some crappy food across from an older couple who clearly didn't get out much when that couple took out their floss and started loosening up the bits between their teeth. As those bits flung across and wound up on our food, I prayed that I would never again be subject to the flossing in public phenomenon.

(I am an adamant flosser, but only in the home.)

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Several years ago, Jlock and I were at the Birchmere at one of the long tables in the front eating some crappy food across from an older couple who clearly didn't get out much when that couple took out their floss and started loosening up the bits between their teeth. As those bits flung across and wound up on our food, I prayed that I would never again be subject to the flossing in public phenomenon.

(I am an adamant flosser, but only in the home.)

LMAO! I wish you could upload a video of that, in particular your and jlock's reaction as the flying bits of food landed on your plates.

I have braces, so I am brushing and flossing constantly, but rarely (LOL!) in public.

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LMAO! I wish you could upload a video of that, in particular your and jlock's reaction as the flying bits of food landing on your plates.

I have braces, so I am brushing and flossing constantly, but rarely (LOL!) in public.

Thanks for all of your comments!

Regarding Buzzkill: The flossing is to make your teeth/mouth feel more comfortable, so you can really relax and enjoy what you've eaten. If it hurts, maybe you're not choosing the proper type of floss.

Regarding Flossing in public:

This topic is discussed on www.flossing.org, in our Q&A section, hosted by Dr. Chip Tartaroff.

The bottom line: Follow the same rule smokers should have always followed, never floss when others are around unless you check with them beforehand that's it's ok.

A.

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To spare you all the need to go to flossing.org, I have cut and pasted the referenced discussion. I find it really gross. I can not believe that they are recommending the unsanitary practice of flossing in an airplane next to a stranger. In coach, I presume. GROSS!!!!!!!! And just a tip to anyone who acts in the recommended fashion: This is why you have no friends!

Flossing In Public?

Dear Dr. Tartaroff,

As an avid flosser I often find myself needing to floss in public places. Recently on an airplane trip I wanted to floss as we were landing (I couldn’t use the restroom), but I didn’t know if I would offend the person sitting next to me. I held back from flossing and ran into the nearest restroom as soon as I left the plane. I hadn’t talked with the person during the trip and felt hesitant to start with my request to floss.

A Traveling Flosser.

Dear ATF,

Your sensitivity is admirable, but to me it seems excessive. This is the 21st Century. The discussion and media ads for AIDS prevention has broadened the public tolerance for topics that still make sailors wince. Why assume that you are the only flosser on the plane? You might have been pleasantly surprised and found that your fellow passenger was also a flosser.

When I’m in a situation like that, I use a variation on the routine Humphrey Bogart would use to offer a cigarette to a companion. First you produce a floss container and make it obvious. Cigarette smokers might tap the pack a few times to tamp the tobacco. Similar moves with floss containers are rarely needed. Then you offer some floss to your companion. If it seems appropriate to make a drug related joke at this point, you can ask, “Would you like to do a line?” Simpler, and completely adequate is, “Floss?” If floss is accepted you and your companion can merrily share a flossing moment. If the floss is declined, simply ask, “Do you mind if I floss?”

Please respect the wishes of anyone in the vicinity who might have to witness your flossing. Remember, to the people around you, you are the Ambassador of Floss. Just as every foul smoker has alienated dozens of non-smokers, your consideration will reflect good and bad, on all flossers. Wear your Mantel proudly, but show proper dignity for your position. Floss-on!

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This is one of the most ridiculous and useless threads I have ever encountered on this site. Anyone with an ounce of manners knows that flossing is one of those things you do in private, along with brushing your teeth, clipping your fingernails or any number of habits of personal hygiene. I wear braces, and have NEVER felt I needed to floss in public in order to maintain the cleanliness that is essential for my treatment. Don, for God's sake shut this down now.

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Flossing In Public?

Dear Dr. Tartaroff,

As an avid flosser I often find myself needing to floss in public places. Recently on an airplane trip I wanted to floss as we were landing (I couldn’t use the restroom), but I didn’t know if I would offend the person sitting next to me. I held back from flossing and ran into the nearest restroom as soon as I left the plane. I hadn’t talked with the person during the trip and felt hesitant to start with my request to floss.

A Traveling Flosser.

Oh for Christs sake. How fucking obnoxious. And, Dr. Tartaroff? This has to be a joke. Even if unintentional, it is a joke. Someone did this next to me on a plane I'd rip the floss outta his hands and fucking garrote him with it.

Whatever happened to self-control?

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Someone hit the wayback machine to April 1, right?
Yeah, I'm guessing that someone is killing themselves laughing, watching people get themselves all worked up over this thread. Something this blatantly stupid has gotta be a joke.

Then again, you'd be surprised the number of times I've seen people clipping their nails in public (even on airplanes). That should be a floggable offence, just like spitting is in Singapore. Nothing like a public whacking across the bare ass with a cane to modify behaviour. :lol:

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Wow. Seems like everyone's reacting like they've touched a hot stove! Ain'tcha ever seen a public awareness campaign before? Dr. Tartaroff. HILARIOUS. Way better than using Newty Neutron to teach people about nuclear energy.

Welcome, Armand. Please feel free to spread your message!

Flossing in public may be unacceptable now, but it might turn into a common sight if it ever becomes a regular part of the meal. Many things throughout history have caused a polite uproar at the table but are now perfectly acceptable: sopping up sauce with bread, holding your knife in your left hand, drinking before your host, being a woman and talking (or man, depending on the civilization). Oh no! My sheer surprise has caused me to drop my monocle in my champagne again! Drat! I'm running out of monocles.

I was once trapped on a desert island with nothing but floss. I was able to use the floss to fashion a slingshot that rocketed me to St. Croix. At least, that's how I remember things going down after that wild night partying after graduating from Imaginary Dental School...

EDIT: Laughing in someone's face when they're seriously endorsing something and mocking something they're passionate about is, in my humble opinion, far more of a slight to Miss Manners than flossing in public. Yes, there is a person there on the other side of the Internet...

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Nothing like a public whacking across the bare ass with a cane to modify behaviour. :lol:
<perk>
Flossing in public may be unacceptable now, but it might turn into a common sight if it ever becomes a regular part of the meal. Many things throughout history have caused a polite uproar at the table but are now perfectly acceptable: sopping up sauce with bread, holding your knife in your left hand, drinking before your host, being a woman and talking (or man, depending on the civilization).
Oh my God no. No no no. Grooming oneself in public is not now and will never be acceptable.

And some of us still don't sop sauce with bread at a formal dinner, or drink before the host once everyone is seated.

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Dan, your humble opinion is noted. To use the fact that standards of behavior have changed over time as an excuse for rejecting standards altogether in one's own time is a selfish abuse of history.
Quite true, and that's a big touche. My bigger beef was what followed the "EDIT" in my post: how rudely many people responded to Armand.
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EDIT: Laughing in someone's face when they're seriously endorsing something and mocking something they're passionate about is, in my humble opinion, far more of a slight to Miss Manners than flossing in public. Yes, there is a person there on the other side of the Internet...
This isn't about manners; this is about hygiene. Encouraging people to floss is wonderful. Encouraging people to fling their chewed remains on others is not. In my opinion, a passionate endorsement of unhygienic practices should be passionately rebutted.
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I see Ugol's Law is alive and well, along with its DC corollary (It doesn't matter what it is, there's an organization somewhere in town that advocates it.)
Is this the corollary to Barney Miller's law (or what is Wojo?) that states "For every item in the Sears-Roebuck catalogue, there's someone that wants to sleep with it"?

As for being rude, mea culpa. I really, honestly, didn't think this could be true. Armand, I know you're trying to do good work here. But the implications gross me out. Sorry.

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I only floss in public when I'm breastfeeding my baby.
I see what you are trying to do, but the comment is extraordinarily misplaced here. It implies both that the millions of mothers who breastfeed their children are unhygienic and that it would be more hygienic for newborns to eat in a toilet stall (which is often the suggested alternative) than for those babies to eat in public.

Edited to clarify that you were obviously trying to get a rise out of me, but that I found it to be a misplaced goad as it would appear as if it was confounding the issues.

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I see what you are trying to do, but the comment is extraordinarily misplaced here. It implies both that the millions of mothers who breastfeed their children are unhygienic and that it would be more hygienic for newborns to eat in a toilet stall (which is often the suggested alternative) than for those babies to eat in public.
Erm... I believe he was implying that breastfeeding also falls into the category of, "debates that have occurred on DR.com related to public appropriateness that have provoked anger and ultimately been locked."

"Sorry, honey. I can't come to bed right now. Someone is WRONG on the INTERNET!!!!!!"

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Why is it that something as banal as flossing must be the avant-garde of modern manners? Why can't we passionately climb the barricades of fashion for something more interesting, like thanking your hostess for her hospitality with a nice pearl necklace. Come on, who's with me?

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Why is it that something as banal as flossing must be the avant-garde of modern manners? Why can't we passionately climb the barricades of fashion for something more interesting, like thanking your hostess for her hospitality with a nice pearl necklace. Come on, who's with me?
I guess that would depend on the type of pearl necklace and if such a "gift" would be worth loosing half of my stuff in a divorce. :lol:
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This isn't about manners; this is about hygiene. Encouraging people to floss is wonderful. Encouraging people to fling their chewed remains on others is not. In my opinion, a passionate endorsement of unhygienic practices should be passionately rebutted.

Urine is aseptic. I fear that many will take your comment about flossing being unhygienic, and extrapolate that it's somehow healthier to partake in a golden shower between dessert and coffee. I see this as a potentially unwelcome trend that I'd prefer not to see cropping up in restaurants, and feel that I must speak up about it now, before it becomes a problem.

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I see Ugol's Law is alive and well, along with its DC corollary (It doesn't matter what it is, there's an organization somewhere in town that advocates it.)

It's my understanding that the North Dakota farmer-lobbyist-restaurateurs behind Agraria and Founding Farmers will soon be offering dental floss packets in their restaurants, in solidarity with the residents of the depressed agricultural communities of Montana.

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Urine is aseptic. I fear that many will take your comment about flossing being unhygienic, and extrapolate that it's somehow healthier to partake in a golden shower between dessert and coffee. I see this as a potentially unwelcome trend that I'd prefer not to see cropping up in restaurants, and feel that I must speak up about it now, before it becomes a problem.
Administrator, please move to 'drinks' thread.

(what next, a discussion on the joys of "decanting"? :lol: (see Urban Dictionary).

No thank you. And no pictures, either.)

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Administrator, please move to 'drinks' thread.

(what next, a discussion on the joys of "decanting"? :lol: (see Urban Dictionary).

No thank you. And no pictures, either.)

Hello,

You folks have been busy.

The point of my bringing this up wasn't to "out" flossing in restaurants or other public situations.

Not that there's anything wrong with that - if you can be sure you're not offending anyone.

(BTW: if you watch the FLOSCAR video (

), you'll see how Steve Martin parodied the idea in "LA Story" in 1991.)

I take no offense at any rants or criticisms.

But please don't get too distracted from the idea of a little packet of floss, with your advertising on it, as a promotional item.

What people do with it will be up to them.

Thanks,

Armand

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