It won’t surprise you to hear that dentists recommend brushing twice a day for 2 minutes and flossing at least once a day. You have probably had your dentist remind you of this.
However, some 80% of Americans skip flossing on a daily basis.
Flosstime is an innovative and automated solution to the problem. It encourages repeat offenders to floss and take better care of their oral health and create healthy flossing habits.
Coming to market as a result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, their promotional video, shown below explains the concept and how it works.
But what is it really like to use on a daily basis? Read on to find out.
I will be the first to admit, that I am not perfect when it comes to my flossing routine (shh don’t tell my dentist), even though I have tried and have many different tools to hand.
But, I know I am considerably better than most and if statistics suggest 80% are failing to floss, that is a worrying number.
Flosstime is on paper a really clever solution that makes use of current technology to encourage better oral health for those who are not giving it the attention they should.
The concept is simple, day to day use and execution is not quite as good as you might want.
In the box you get:
- 1 x Flosstime automated dispenser
- 2 x Floss cartridges
- 1 x Animal snap-on
- 1 x Floss pick
- 1 x Mirror adhesive
- 2 x AA batteries
- 1 x Quick start guide
Well presented in the retail packaging, to get up and running you first need to remove the battery tab, to allow power to pass through from the pre-installed 2 x AA batteries.
You then need to select on the back of the unit whether it is to be used by 1 or 2 people, by moving a switch.
A reel of floss is pre-installed for you.
Next you need to remove the protective strip on the adhesive mounting plate and attach to a mirror or wall in your bathroom. This adhesive tape is extremely strong and I can’t see this coming loose any time soon!
You want to position it in a place you will see it as you will need to pay attention to the lights that illuminate on the unit.
Once attached you are pretty much ready to go. It takes a matter of seconds to get up and running.
The overall quality of materials and construction appears to be very good.
In the centre of the unit is the Flosstime logo.
Around the edge of the unit is the strip that lights up blue or orange.
At the top (12 o’clock) is a slit that allows the floss to feed up and through from inside the dispenser.
The sides of the unit then taper back towards the surface on which it is mounted.
The design does too allow for the mounting plate to remain attached to the mirror and the unit removed to replace the floss reel as and when is necessary.
The main principle behind the unit is that using a blue or orange light, around the edge of the Flosstime unit, it essentially smiles or frowns at you. Like a happy or sad face.
By using the three Rs of habit forming, Reminder, Routine and Reward, Flosstime helps you and your family build healthy, lifelong habits.Well that is the theory at least.
Whilst Flosstime can be used by up to 2 people, I am not sure whether I like the fact you can share Flosstime or not.
Principally I do, everyone in your family or household needs to floss. But, a large proportion of households have more than 2 people in the home.
Take a typical family with 2 or 3 children. That could be theoretically up to 5 users. There is no accomodation for this.
Perhaps parents and children may have separate bathrooms and 1 Flosstime in each is appropriate, but you probably see what I mean when I say, it is perhaps not the most practical or cost effective solution (more on that later).
That said, for children, the animal themed snap on attachments can make for a more fun flossing experience. My unit came with a green frog, but you can get a crab and a fish to, for just $3 each.
The reminder system certainly reinforces the principle of regular flossing and is more interactive for children.
I would be intrigued to see a more detailed study that compares the use of Flosstime and regular reels of floss by children to see which is more effective.
I write this remainder of the review from the perspective of a single user.
With the device installed and ready to go, you can tap on the unit to dispense 18 inches (46 cm) of floss.
The dispenser feeds the floss out of the slit in the front of the unit, and with a simple tug, you can release the floss and begin your interdental cleaning.
As you do, each quadrant of the rounded Flosstime dispenser will be lit with a blue light for 22 seconds, to time your flossing.
Once complete the lower half lights up to give you a blue smile.
After 22 hours, the top half of the unit lights up orange to essentially frown at you and remind you that you need to floss.
If this is within your line of sight as you go into the bathroom, the orange frown does catch your eye and indeed act as the reminder as intended.
I floss regularly, but I don’t believe that for most adults a orange colored frown is enough. It is too easy to ignore. If you are guilty of not flossing, is a frown really going to get you to floss?!
Yes, you get a nice blue smile, after flossing, but I suspect, if you earnt a few cents in some form of rewards programme every time you flossed, this might be more encouragement.
Perhaps a little over the top, but maybe some sort of alarm would work better.
I am not talking about a constant alarm noise, but maybe one that beeps at you every 5 minutes, once 22 hours has passed. Enough that you are aware of it, and ultimately do something about it, but not so annoying you just take the batteries out.
Perhaps I am being cynical. Don’t get me wrong I love the concept, I just think habitual offenders are not going to change habits of a lifetime.
Some may well do, but I think those that will get greatest benefit from this are kids or those adults that have been diagnosed with gum disease or dental health problems that will only be helped with extra cleaning attention, that includes flossing.
A scare like this is more dramatic and the reminder system is more poignant.
A nice addition in the box is the floss pick that allows you to attach the floss to if you prefer this approach to the more traditional approach of around the fingers.
The pick itself is white in color and quite strong and easy to handle.
The included quick start guide shows you how to attach the floss to the floss pick, but it would be nice to see instructions on how to floss. It may sound obvious, but it you want to encourage flossing habits, to me, this seems a logical addition.
The reel contains 54.6 yards (50m) of floss and is proprietary, in that you cannot use any other floss aside from the reels made and sold by Flosstime.
2 reels are included in the box, and each should last a users on average 3 months.
The included batteries should typically last 6-9 months.
The floss itself is a tape style which is good and it is very strong. Over the few weeks I tried Flosstime, not once did the floss break.
The PTE comfort floss has no flavouring as far as I can tell. I do not think this is a make or break issue, but typically floss has a minty fresh coating or taste, which I believe many quite like as it gives a perception of cleanliness and freshness.
Sadly there are no alternative options from Flosstime, there is this 1 type of floss and no other.
I wondered whether I had a faulty unit, but it appears others have reported an issue I had too.
Whilst I get there is some automation in the dispenser, the instructions did not suggest that it would actually dispense floss, without me pressing the unit, but it did.
Now, like you I am not in my bathroom all day, but I came in at times to find a length of floss just hanging there, despite not instructing it to provide any.
On at least 1 occasion I walked into the room and it was as if it detected me, the unit ran a sequence of lights around the edge and just dispensed again.
I could not see any pattern to its dispensing.
In fairness I could just use it next time I flossed, but from what I could tell it then messed up the reminder system.
Flosstime works on a subscription model.
The initial cost is $31 and then a further $5 every 3 months.
For the $31, you get the kit I have shown here.
The $5 every 3 months is a replacement reel of floss and includes the cost of delivery to your door.
You can order extra reels, at a cost of $6. You will need to do this if you are sharing Flosstime between 2 users, as 1 reel will only last 1 user 3 months.
Unfortunately there is no option, that I am aware of to change the frequency of deliveries. For example if you are a particularly regular flosser, twice a day, rather than once, you will want more floss more often, but you can’t.
The only solution would be to add extra reels onto your 3 month delivery.
You can cancel at any time without penalty.
Given the type of user Flosstime have in mind, I do think the subscription model works well.
It is certainly current and on trend. But, if flossing is not a number 1 priority, ordering replacement floss will certainly be put to the back of the mind. At $5 every 3 months, this is a simple case of set it and forget it.
Some will see this subscription as a negative, particularly when you compare the cost of the reels to the more conventional reels of floss you can buy at the grocery store.
As a rough average you are looking at about $2-3 per reel more expensive for Flosstime comfort floss.
By no means a massive price difference, over a 12 month period though in a typical family, that could be around $12 per family member to be saved, by going for the more traditional reels of floss. And that does not factor in the one off cost of $31.
If you are looking to equip the family with Flosstime, you might think twice, subject to your perceptions of price. But some of the extra value comes in the convenience, the habit forming techniques Flosstime offers.
The concept and intention behind Flosstime is commendable. Too few of us floss regularly or for the right amount of time. It certainly aims to tackle a very real problem.
If you already floss regularly, or even fairly regularly, this is not the product for you.
Subscription models are certainly becoming more commonplace and is logical given the type of user that Flosstime appeals to, albeit the price is at a premium over regular reels of floss.
However, the very thing that encourages you to floss is too easy to be ignored. The floss is tasteless and the dispenser releases floss when it feels like it.
General day to day use is acceptable, but sadly it is not great and won’t have me switching to Flosstime as my go to interdental cleaning solution.
The Flosstime dispenser spoken about in this review was provided by Flosstime. Electric Teeth did not purchase this model. No financial reward was provided to conclude the review the way that we did.