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Flossing your teeth at least once a day is a necessary part of a dental health routine. Floss cleans out food and plaque that is trapped between teeth, but did you know that your ancient ancestors used floss as well? Here is a brief history of dental floss.

Horsing Around

Evidence has been found that people living in prehistoric times cleaned their teeth. Toothpicks made of twigs were the most common form of dental care, but a horse hair floss was also used.

The Father Of Floss

It wasn’t until 1815 that we first see floss similar to what we use today. A New Orleans dentist named Levi Spear Parmly started to tell his patients to clean between their teeth using a thin, silk thread.

Mass Production

The Codman and Shurtleft Company was the first to mass produce an unwaxed silk dental floss in 1882. The Johnson & Johnson Company would follow in 1896, and then take out a patent for floss 2 years later. They would make it out of the same silk material doctors used for stitches.

Silk To Nylon

Silk was in low supply in the 1940’s because of World War II, so Dr. Charles Bass remedied this solution by creating a floss from nylon instead. This would prove to be a better material because it had a more consistent texture and was less likely to fray. Waxed floss was also first used in this era.