Leave It to a Portland Kids' Dentist to Invent an Eco-Friendly Flosser

A North Portland dentist designs a disposable flosser that’s good for your teeth and better for the environment.

By Cami Hughes December 2, 2021

Image: happi floss

Flossing went viral in 2017, thanks to the Instagram sensation known as “Backpack Kid.”

We are speaking, of course, about the dance move, and not cleaning between your teeth, which is timeless advice from your friendly local dentist. A fan of the latter, pediatric dentist Staci Whitman would often send her young patients home with handled flossers that can be easier for kids who are still working on their moves. But she was troubled by the environmental impact of the one-use disposable plastic items, and so were the parents of her patients.

“I didn’t feel good about it, and there is so much waste in dentistry,” she says.

So she set about researching a compostable option, which eventually led to her own line of eco-friendly flossers, dubbed Happi Floss.

Whitman worked closely with Steven Dodson of Grune Technica, a manufacturer in Gresham, to design a flosser made from layers of recycled paper held together by a plant-based resin that breaks down in under a year.

Now, she’s actively seeking investors to expand her production capabilities. Her ultimate goal? A line of environmentally friendly, nontoxic dentistry products for kids—backpack and dance moves optional.