Closeup of a woman's mouth as she is flossing with string floss

When Was Dental Floss Invented?

February 27, 2021 2:07 pm

In this blog post, we’ll review the history of dental floss and how to easily nail down the proper flossing technique at any age!

The History of Dental Floss

Throughout the years, our ancestors have used various methods to remove particles from in-between their teeth. But flossing didn’t take its widely-known form until 1815. This is when New Orleans dentist Dr. Levi Spear Parmly created a thin, waxen silk thread to allow his patients to comfortably and easily clean the spaces between their teeth. He published A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth to teach the importance of flossing.

The Codman and Shurtleff Company started manufacturing unwaxed silk dental floss in 1882. It slowly grew in popularity until 16 years later when Johnson and Johnson secured a patent for dental floss. This allowed them to introduce it to the population at large.

In the 1940s, silk floss was replaced by nylon gloss because it’s a less expensive and more durable material. Soon after that, waxed floss and dental tape became available.

Modern Dental Floss

Dental floss has continued to evolve since the 19th century. Today, there are flosses of different textures, materials, and flavors. There are flossing threaders to help guide floss through tight spaces, floss picks for convenience, and water flossers that shoot pressurized water between teeth and under gums.

Why Is Flossing Important?

Brushing your teeth is only half of your daily oral healthcare routine! Flossing removes plaque and food particles from the spaces between your teeth to reduce your risk of decay, cavities, and bad breath. Plus, daily flossing helps prevent gum disease by removing plaque buildup from under the gumline.

Preventive Dentistry for Kids in Kerrville, TX

At Tots to Teens Pediatric Dentistry, we work with children of all ages to ensure their teeth and gums are clean and healthy. In addition to comprehensive pediatric dental checkups and our routine preventive care, we also offer restorative and emergency treatments in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere.

We’d love to see your child at our office! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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