The History of Floss

The History of Floss

Dentists recommend flossing daily as an important part of good dental hygiene. But do you know the history behind how that thread became part of our daily routine?

Ancient Origins of Floss

Anthropologists claim that markings on the teeth of ancient humans indicate that they used various implements such as pointed sticks to clean between their teeth. This was thousands of years before dentists recognized the importance of flossing.

Invention and Evolution of Dental Floss

In 1819, a New Orleans dentist named Levi Spear Parmly published “A Practical Guide to the Management of the Teeth”, in which he recommended cleaning between teeth with a piece of silk thread. He recognized that things stuck between our teeth caused disease. Toothpicks remained the preferred method for teeth cleaning until 1882, when the Codman and Shurtleft Company put the first commercial unwaxed, silk floss on the market. The first patent for dental floss was awarded in 1874, to Asahel Shurtleff for “an Improved Pocket Thread Carrier and Cutter” that was similar to the modern floss packages we use today.

Dental floss didn’t even become a household item until after World War II. Silk was expensive and seemed impractical for everyday use. This led Dr. Charles C. Bass to invent nylon dental floss, still a popular form of floss. Dr. Bass is also responsible for advocating for flossing as part of everyday dental hygiene.

Dental Floss Today

Today, there are many different varieties of dental floss to choose from: Nylon or Gore-Tex, flavored or unflavored. There are also innovative designs that make today’s floss easier to use.

Daxon Dentistry Recommends Flossing Everyday!

Flossing has come a long way. We went from using sticks to silk, and now to new technology that makes flossing easy. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once per day. Flossing can help prevent gum disease, cavities, and bad breath. Schedule a visit with Daxon Dentistry to learn more about dental health.