Invention Of Dental Floss: A Brief History Of Dental Floss



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Some of you might be familiar with dental floss. This dental floss was invented by American Dentist, Levi Spear Parmly. The history of invention of dental floss began in 1819. He wrote the book related to the dental care and introduced the waxed silken thread which is known as dental floss. He suggested the thread for his patients to clean between their teeth. Levi Spear Parmly is considered as pioneer in dental hygiene.

At first, Parmly introduced dental flossing since he was disturbed when he checked the shape of the patient’s teeth. At that time, toothbrushes were too expensive. Due to this reason, they only dipped a cloth in mixture of water and gunpowder or salt. They will rub the cloth on their teeth. Parmly then introduced three tools which were useful for the teeth’s health. Those three tools were introduced through his book which included toothbrush, dentifrice or type of toothpaste, and waxen silken thread. His book became the beginning of invention of dental floss.

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According to Parmly’s book, the most important tool is the waxed silken thread. The main thread originally used to loosen any matter between the teeth area which could not be reached by toothbrush. He stated that using the thread between the teeth after every meal could stop more tooth decay than any brushes or powders. The invention of dental floss did not happen directly. There are some reasons which caused this problem. There were some trained dentists in America taught people about flossing. For this process, regular thread could not work properly since it was not strong enough to pass through the teeth. At that time, silk thread was expensive item. The first paten for dental floss was received in 1874. However, it is not marketed directly until 1882.

The first company which distributed the dental floss was Johnson and Johnson. It was continued with Codman and Shurtleff in 1900. During World War Two, the Dupont Company introduced nylon material. After the war, nylon was used to manufacture dental floss. Even until today, dental floss is still made from nylon material. By 1975, there were over 1,300 patents for dental floss. You might find there are many options of dental floss which you can find in the market. However, the invention of dental floss can be considered being pioneered by Parmly.

The invention of dental floss is considered as one of the most important technology for dental field. According to Mayo Clinic, the dental flossing is working more effectively than other tools to clean teeth. When you are flossing your teeth, you need to clean the back of the teeth and the sides of the teeth. It is done to scrape off the plaque.