The History of Dental Floss

The History of Dental Floss

Ancient Times:   Anthropologists’ findings have found evidence that people back in humanity’s primal days used things like pointed sticks to “floss” between their teeth to get out pieces of food.

The Beginning:   Some researchers claim that floss as a dental implement was founded in the New Orleans in 1815 when a dentist advised his patients to use a silk thread to remove food from between their teeth.

Evolution of Dental Floss (1882-1896):    This idea of silks as a dental device caught on and the Codman and Shurtleft Company began to market unwaxed silk dental floss and by 1896 Johnson & Johnson caught on and joined the marketing campaign. All of these flosses were made of thin silk.

Evolution of Dental Floss Part II (1940-1950):  In the 1940s nylon began replacing silk threads for flosses for a better texture and a more durable floss that could remove harder particles of food from between the teeth. Throughout the 1940s the implement known as dental floss became “waxed” as well. The development of dental tape was completed by 1950.

Today:  Today we have developed spongier and softer varieties of floss. For example, stiff ends make the floss easier to move between the teeth. It also allows for easy flossing around implements like braces and retainers.  Today flossing at least once per day is recommended, and brushing a least twice a day is considered the “golden standard” for good oral health!

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