Interview: The world’s first eco-friendly electric flosser
Flaüs is the name that the Los Angeles-based company GoFlaus came up with for its revolutionary product: the world’s first eco-friendly electric flosser. The device makes flossing as quick and easy as brushing teeth. In an interview with Dental Tribune International, Samantha Coxe, CEO and co-founder of GoFlaus, explained where the idea for Flaüs came from, what sustainability means to the dental industry in this day and age, and why marketing oral health care products does not have to be all so somber.
Ms. Coxe, what inspired you to create the world’s first eco-friendly electric flosser?
It all started in 2019. Flaüs was inspired by a painful and expensive trip to the dentist. I was a guilt flosser—flossing my teeth before a dentist appointment so that when asked whether I floss I could answer yes. This led to a $2,000 dental bill, a lecture on the importance of flossing and a disappointed dental hygienist. While I was a responsible brusher, using my electric toothbrush twice a day, I dreaded flossing. It was the most tedious, painful and difficult step in my daily oral care routine. When I expressed my frustrations to co-founder Taylor Jolin, he emphatically agreed. That’s when we thought: There must be a better way! Flaüs was engineered to solve the pain points of flossing so that everyone can keep their teeth for life.
We launched our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in April and plan on shipping orders in August 2021.
What is Flaüs made of, and where exactly do the materials come from?
Flaüs is designed to be good for both you and the planet. Flaüs is made from sustainable materials, including anodized aluminum and nontoxic bioplastics (produced from cornstarch, unlike plastics made from fossil fuels) that are completely compostable, biodegradable and BPA-free.
As a company, how important is eco-friendliness in general to you?
Eco-friendliness is a core value of Flaüs—we want to do better. From inception, we set out to build a product that avoided the use of petroleum-based plastics that are commonly found in many of today’s oral care products. Many consumers are unaware that their oral care products are made from polypropylene plastic and nylon, which come from fossil fuels and are nonbiodegradable and noncompostable.
Additionally, certain dental floss products contain forever chemicals, such as PFAS [perfluorinated alkylated substances], which have been linked to serious health conditions, such as liver damage, decreased fertility and cancer. Flaüs seeks to eliminate the use of these harmful chemicals and build consumer awareness. To further demonstrate our commitment to being an eco-friendly company, we partnered with Plastic Bank and pledged to prevent 100 plastic bottles from reaching the oceans for each Flaüs sold.
Do you think that competitors could do more in order to sustain good oral health and do good for the planet at the same time?
In terms of competition, dental floss and floss pick manufacturers can recalibrate to eliminate harmful chemical and nonbiodegradable ingredients in favor of sustainable raw materials. The same can be said for companies that manufacture and sell oral irrigators. While petroleum-based plastics are often viewed as favorable owing to their inherently low cost, we hope to challenge the industry to reassess the negative impact these materials can have over the long term. By committing to eco-friendly manufacturing practices, we hope to inspire others to follow in our footsteps to help create a positive impact on our planet.
Is there clinical evidence that supports the effectiveness of Flaüs?
Flaüs was developed in collaboration with dental professionals with the goal of making flossing quicker, easier and more environmentally friendly. Later this year, we plan to conduct at least two independent clinical trials and submit an application to the American Dental Association to request the ADA Seal of Acceptance. We tested our product in dozens of mouths throughout the prototyping process and found that users much preferred using an electric flosser (vs. other methods of interdental cleaning). Furthermore, there have been various published studies demonstrating the efficacy of electric flossers in general:
- This study found that the electric flosser “was safe and effective in reducing approximal plaque and gingival inflammation, and provides a useful alternative device for interdental cleaning.”
- This study found that the electric flosser in combination with a manual toothbrush removed plaque significantly better than did the toothbrush alone. Among floss types, there was evidence of superiority for the electric flosser.
- This study found that the electric flosser “removed significantly more interproximal plaque in molar, premolar, and anterior teeth compared to manual floss at days 15 and 30” and that “there was no significant difference in interdental inflammation between groups”.
The flosser will become available on the market at the beginning of September. How did the reviews on your website come about?
The reviews on our website came from beta-testers. Flaüs underwent six rounds of prototype iterations throughout our development process. During each prototype round, we tested the device in over 30 mouths and collected consumer feedback to help hone the design and efficacy. We also conducted at-home trial periods during which beta-testers could use our product for prolonged periods.
Usually, dental companies opt for more traditional and serious marketing. What made you decide to take a less formal and more fun approach?
Flaüs is an innovative, fun and easy way to floss that keeps the planet clean and your teeth cleaner. Our branding reflects our fresh and elevated approach to oral care. By instilling fun and humor into the mundane (and often annoying) task of flossing, we hope to introduce everyone to a healthier lifestyle—packaging it in convenience and style for more accessible adoption.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Later this year, we are launching our Flaüs ambassadors program, through which dental professionals can help design, test, advise and promote Flaüs products that they can feel proud of. Any dental professionals who are interested in participating can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.