The Advancement of Floss

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The concept of flossing the teeth has been around for thousands of years. 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.

In 1815, a New Orleans dentist, Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, began suggesting that his patients use a thin silk thread to clean between the teeth. 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 were both contributing factors 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 has continued to evolve since then. 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 Dental Excellence of Kennesaw today to learn more about flossing in Kennesaw, Georgia, and to schedule an appointment with our dentists, Dr. Smith and Dr. Kirshenbaum.

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