How Cam Newton made flossing important again

With one swipe of his floss after eating an orange, Cam Newton made big news in the dental world. He didn't buy the reports about flossing's ineffectiveness, and we thank him for it.

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The reputation of flossing was damaged with one AP article, and immediately restored by one viral image of an NFL MVP flossing on the sidelines.

As we all know by now, a recent Associated Press article stated that flossing is not as effective as was previously believed. An orthodontist told the AP reporter there was a lack of importance placed on the use of dental floss. Coinci-dentally (pun intended), flossing is not easy to perform around traditional orthodontic wires and brackets. But keeping the teeth and gums healthy is even more imperative with orthodontic wires and brackets, as plaque accumulates with greater ease and abundance. Nevertheless, as the AP article gained wide mainstream traction, the reputation of the importance of flossing took a hit.

Cam Newton

Fortunately for dental hygiene advocates everywhere, several weeks after the AP report was published, a video went viral of NFL player Cam Newtown flossing on the sidelines during the NFL regular season opener. It was a nationally televised Thursday night game on CBS between Newton’s Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, so it had a good viewing audience.

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Cam Newton is the reigning NFL MVP and the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, last season’s NFC champions. They made it all the way to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Denver Broncos. On this Thursday evening they were playing in a rematch against the Broncos, a game they eventually lost 20-21.

Newton flossing on the sidelines was big news for the dental world. The image became a national story and social media became ablaze with memes and photos of the quarterback flossing. Some comments on Twitter included, “Cam Newton has been eating up on the Broncos secondary so he needs to floss mid-game,” or “The AP did a study concluding how flossing is ineffective. Cam Newton doesn’t buy it.”

When asked by reporters after the game why he was flossing, Newton replied, “I was eating oranges at halftime. They got stuck in my teeth.” The reputation of flossing was damaged with one AP article, and restored with one viral image of an NFL MVP flossing on the sidelines. It’s interesting to note that Cam Newton is almost never seen wearing a protective mouth guard during NFL games. His "Hollywood smile" may not be protected mid-game, but his dental hygiene certainly will be.


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Iman SadriIman Sadri, DDS, is the founder of @HollywoodSmileTV.He is a cosmetic dentist and writer. Dr. Sadri is a 2008 graduate of the NYU College of Dentistry and maintains a private practice in Orange County, Calif. He can be reached at Drisadri@gmail.com.

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