Changes in Floss Over Time

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Our dentists and team stress the importance of flossing daily. According to the ADA, only 12 percent of Americans floss every day. Despite this low percentage, the flossing concept isn’t a new one. Evidence suggests that interdental cleaning has been practiced since Prehistoric times.

Researchers have found evidence of floss use in prehistoric times. Archeologists have found evidence that Neanderthals used toothpicks made from small sticks to clean between their teeth. Horsehair may have been used as floss as well.

Dr. Levi Spear Parmly began suggesting that his patients use a thin silk thread to clean between the teeth in 1815. The flossing idea caught hold and in 1882, the Codman and Shurleft Company in Massachusetts began mass-producing unwaxed silk dental floss. In 1898, the very first floss patent was granted to Johnson & Johnson. This floss was made from the same silk material used for silk stitches by doctors.

Silk has a tendency to shred and its costs rose during World War II. These factors both contributed to the replacement of silk with nylon as the main material in floss in the 1940s. Because floss was now made from nylon, waxed floss could be developed in the 1940s and dental tape in the 1950s.

Floss still evolves and changes today. Gore-Tex material is used in some varieties of floss. Spongy floss and soft floss have been developed for sensitive gums. Floss picks, which simplify the process of flossing the back teeth and flossing with braces, have become quite popular.

We welcome you to contact Family & Implant Dentistry today to learn more about flossing in Manhattan, Kansas, and to schedule an appointment.