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February 2, 2018

History of Dental Floss

Filed under: Uncategorized — dr_bannan @ 9:03 pm

blue package of floss openYou’ve probably been hearing since your childhood how important it is to floss several times a day to prevent the growth of bacteria and plaque that cause gum disease. But have you ever wondered where floss comes from? What’s its history and who makes it? Another question you may have is, “Do children need to floss?” So to commemorate National Children’s Dental Health Month, your dentist in Port Orange will answer these questions and explain why it’s so important to introduce this method of oral hygiene to your kids.

Where Did Dental Floss Come From?

While there is no specific date for the creation of dental floss, there is evidence that prehistoric humans used horse hair to clean between their teeth. Our modern usage of this wondrous tool for fighting dental maladies begins a lot later, though.

Here’s a timeline of its development:

  • 1815 – American dentist, Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, introduced the idea of waxed silken thread as floss.
  • 1882 – The next step in the evolution was for unwaxed silk floss to be mass-produced by the Codman and Shurleft Company.
  • 1898 – Years later, Johnson & Johnson was granted the first patent for dental floss.
  • 1940’s – During the 1940’s, World War II changed the face of the globe and the production of silk, driving costs up. As a result, nylon replaced the latter as the main material of floss.
  • 1980’s – One of the more recent advances in floss is an interdental brush, which is a hybrid between floss and a toothbrush.
  • Today – Floss has evolved greatly over the past 200+ years. We now have options like Gore-Tex, spongy and soft floss for sensitive gums, and floss picks for people who wear braces.

Who knows what the next innovation will be in the world of dental floss?

Why It’s Important to Encourage Your Children to Floss

During National Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s a great time to introduce flossing to your young ones. It’s just as important for children as for adults because their teeth are still in a developmental phase. That means that if bacteria and plaque are allowed to infest their primary teeth and gums, then there can be issues with the growth of their permanent set.

So by encouraging your kiddos to adopt this habit early, you will be ensuring that they will enjoy oral health well into their adult lives.

To learn more about different options for flossing and ways to improve the oral health of your whole family, just reach out to your children’s dentist in Port Orange today to schedule an appointment.

About the Author

Dr. Sean Bannan earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He is currently affiliated with the American Dental Association and several other professional organizations, while remaining committed to lifelong learning. He delivers compassionate and exemplary care at Water’s Edge Dental and can be reached for more information through his website.

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