Dental floss is considered a key element in proper oral hygiene. Yet, according to the ADA, only about 12% of Americans floss daily. This number is all the more surprising when you learn that the idea of flossing, like dentistry, is an ancient one. The experts at Parkcrest Dental Group know the importance of flossing and its history. Read today’s entry of the Parkcrest Dental Group blog to learn more.
Discoveries made by researchers reveal that flossing is not a new concept. The exact date of the first use of dental floss is unknown, but clues suggest that some form of flossing was occurring in prehistoric times.
Grooves from floss and toothpicks have been found in prehistoric humans. It has been suggested, in fact, that horse hair was used as floss, while twigs were used as toothpicks to dislodge unwanted particles from between teeth. While it’s certainly interesting to see what the first tools for flossing might have been, the team Parkcrest Dental Group definitely recommends not using horse hair.
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Dr. Levi Spear Parmly – 1819
Levi Spear Parmly was a dentist from New Orleans, and he is credited with inventing the first form of dental floss. In 1819, he recommended running waxen silk thread “through the interstices of the teeth, between their necks, and the arches of the gum, to dislodge that irritating matter which no brush can remove and which is the real source of disease.” Dr. Parmly considered this the most important part of oral care, even though floss would not be commercially available for another 63 years.
Commercial Availability – 1882
Floss did not become commercially available until 1882 when the Codman and Shurtleft Company started producing unwaxed silk floss. Then, in 1898 the Johnson & Johnson Corporation received the first patent for dental floss that was made from the same silk material used by physicians for silk stitches.
World War II and Beyond
Overall use of dental floss was still low before World War II. Then, physician Charles C. Bass developed nylon floss. Nylon floss was found to be better than silk because of its greater abrasion resistance, and because it could be produced in great lengths and various sizes. Today, the variety of types of dental floss has expanded to include newer materials such as Gore-Tex, and different textures such as spongy floss and soft floss.
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Book Your Next Appointment at Parkcrest Dental Group
Because the team at Parkcrest Dental Group care about you and your smile, they would like to remind you that flossing is a key part of twice a daily oral care regimen. If you have questions about your oral hygiene, don’t hesitate to contact Parkcrest Dental Group.