Learn The Evolution of Floss

Dental floss is considered a key element in proper oral hygiene. Flossing goes after the plaque and debris caught between the gum line and tooth that the toothbrush couldn’t reach. In fact, flossing covers 35 percent of tooth surfaces. However, according to the ADA, only about 12 percent of Americans floss daily, and additionally, 73 percent of Americans say they rather go grocery shopping than floss.

Despite our unwillingness to floss, it may be surprising to know the practice of flossing has been dated back as early as the Prehistoric period. While the earliest versions of floss design are similar to what is found in stores today, the evolution and advancements of floss is quite fascinating, and modern designs are much more simplified to create a comfortable experience.

Prehistoric period: If you hate flossing now, imagine living in the prehistoric times where prehistoric humans used strands from a horse’s tail to floss and used twigs as toothpicks. Using nylon dental floss doesn’t seem so bad to dislodge the debris between our teeth.

19th century: We’ll have to thank Dr. Levi Spear Parmly for introducing waxed silken thread as the material for flossing in 1815. In fact, he published A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth, which emphasized the importance of brushing and flossing daily. In the late 1800s, Codman and Shurleft Company mass-produced unwaxed silk floss, and Johnson & Johnson granted the first dental floss patent.

20th century: Dr. Charles Bass replaced silk with nylon as the main material for floss because of the increased cost of silk for World War II and its tendency to shred. In the 1980s, alternative to flossing was discovered by inventing the interdental brush.

Today: While nylon is the continued widely used form of dental floss, flossing is still evolving to more advanced forms. There’s the Gore-Tex, spongy floss, soft floss, floss picks, and Oral-B’s Super Foss, which has stiffened ends to help with flossing around braces and other appliances.

While it’s settle, flossing keeps evolving to more advanced forms. What do you think the next form of dental floss will be? Share your thoughts below!

Along with brushing and flossing every day, it’s equally important to visit our team at Lowes Island Dentistry to receive a thorough comprehensive cleaning exam to ensure excellent oral health. We provide top-notch Sterling area dental care, and you can experience our quality care yourself by giving us a call today!

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