The Evolution of Dental Floss

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Everyone knows what dental floss is, but where did it come from? Who invented it? Did it change over time? Let’s delve into a brief history of the evolution of dental floss.

For centuries, people have used pointed objects to clean their teeth. It wasn’t until 1815 that dental floss was invented by a New Orleans dentist. Dr. Levi Spear Parmly used strands of waxed silk to clean his patients’ teeth. In 1882, as flossing became a regular part of dental care, the Codman and Shurleft Company began mass-producing unwaxed silk floss, making it commercially available. The silk floss had a tendency to shred easily, however.

When World War II arose and the cost of silk increased dramatically, Dr. Charles Bass replaced the silk with nylon material—an ingredient that’s still present in modern dental floss. The nylon filament was more abrasive than silk and could withstand flossing without shredding. At this point, wax was once again implemented in the process of floss-making.

Today, floss is made from microfilaments or nylon filaments. Some dental flosses contain flavoring agents like mint to make flossing more enjoyable. Dental floss also varies in thickness to adapt to the different spacing between teeth.

With the abundant variety of dental floss, not to mention other flossing tools, it can be difficult to choose a product. Flossers need to consider the following:

– Spacing between teeth
– Sensitivity of the gum tissue
– The roughness of the floss itself

To learn more about your personal flossing needs, contact J. Richard Burch at 816-822-0990 or visit KC Smile Doc in Kansas City, Missouri today.