A Brief History Lesson on Dental Floss

We have been stressing the importance of dental floss a lot in the past few articles and with good reason. Regular flossing is part of a healthy oral care regimen that can save you from major dental problems down the road. However, did you know floss was not always the mint-flavored string it is now? It is time for a brief history lesson on this beneficial tool.

A dentist from New Orleans by the name of Levi Spear Parmly is credited with inventing the first form of floss. In 1815, Levi recommended that his patients, and everybody for that matter, use silk strings to clean between their teeth. Thus, the act of flossing was born.

It was not until 1882 that silk floss became commercially available. A company by the name of Codman and Shurtleft started mass-producing un-waxed silk for consumer use. Sixteen years later, 1898, the very first patent for dental floss was awarded to Johnson & Johnson Corporation. Johnson & Johnson made their product from the same silk thread that doctors used for stitches.

The adoption rates for flossing never really took off until World War II. It was during this time that nylon, thanks to Dr. Charles C. Bass, began to replace silk. Nylon was found to be a better material thanks to its consistent texture, as well as being less prone to shredding. These two simple facts meant consumers received a better cleaning between their teeth without all the frayed threads roaming around their mouths.

Today, finding dental floss in a variety of substances ranging from biodegradable compounds to Kevlar threads is extremely common. Flavorings, like the all too common mint, are now popular as they help add to that fresh, clean mouth feeling. Compounding all of this is the introduction of various tools that help speed up, and simplify the act of flossing. This tool has certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings.

With all these great improvements, how can you not take just a few minutes every day and give your teeth a good, thorough cleaning? Trust us; the benefits far outweigh the effort!

Related Posts
  • Top Oral Health Concerns for Men Read More
  • The Benefits of a Straighter Smile Read More
  • How Your Oral Health Impacts Your Heart Health Read More