Flossing is the act of threading a waxed or un-waxed thread to remove any food particles or plaque between or on the surface of the teeth as well as under the gums.
Although flossing isn’t a new idea, patients who either take regular trips to the dentist or not, don’t take flossing seriously.
Dentists around the world advise their patients to floss more as it’s one of the key parts of dental care and it’s proven that daily flossing maintains oral health.
So when and how did the concept of flossing really start?
It’s said in a study, anthropologists found evidence on the teeth of prehistoric people that showed they used a variety of ways to dislodge things out of their mouth as well as flossing. Primitive man used horsehair to floss their teeth and used small twigs that are capable of taking food out of their mouth, similar to the modern day usage of toothpicks. In later years, the usage of horsehair was substituted with silk thread, as advised by a dentist in New Orleans in 1815.
Many resources has said that the invention of dental floss was credited to a dentists named Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, who advised his patients to use thin silk threads in order to clean the space between their teeth. He even published a book that stresses the importance of brushing and flossing daily. In 1882, a company in Randolph, Massachusetts called Codman and Shurtleft began to market un-waxed silk thread dental floss.
When the concept of flossing started to become bigger, Johnson and Johnson produced dental floss that used the same silk material used by doctors for silk stitches during surgery during the year 1898. However, it’s found that silk shreds easily hence in the 1940s, nylon was replaced.
Its durable state was complemented with its consistent texture and resistant to shredding therefore allowing the development of waxed floss in the same era, and the dental tape in the 1950s.
Over the years, the materials used to make dental floss have greatly expanded into many other modern materials. The most prominent material used for dental floss around the world now is Gore-Tex, a durable, waterproof and breathable material.
Dental floss for sensitive teeth are also produced, using softer flossing material and is recommended by dentists all over the world, and spongy floss helps to remove plaque that leads to tartar are used by those who smokes or has tooth discolorations. Whereas dental floss that has a stiffened end helps to clean those with braces or other dental appliances.
So the next time you’re flossing, just remember that you’re not only taking care of your overall dental health but at the same time continuing a millennia year old tradition of cleaning the space between your teeth. Be thankful that the modern day dentists have now come up with better, softer thread that allows you to clean your teeth better without having to worry about having horsehair stuck between your teeth.