Dental Flossing

When did dental floss become popular

Way back in 1819, a dentist in New Orleans (US), Levi Spear Parmly, told patients to use waxed silk thread to clean the spaces in between their teeth. This was the first form of a dental floss, though it is likely that simple thread was used to remove food stuck in the teeth or around the gum line.

In 1882 a company started making unwaxed silk floss. But it was only in 1898 that Johnson & Johnson patented dental floss that was initially made of the silk normally used for sutures in the medical profession. Now dental floss is available globally and made by different manufacturers.


Why do we need to floss your teeth?

Almost all dentists advise the use of dental floss. That is because simple brushing is not sufficient to remove all the debris from the teeth, particularly food particles that get stuck in the spaces between the teeth.

While research is conflicted about the efficacy of the use of dental floss and users are often lazy about using floss regularly, the fact of the matter is that your teeth will actually feel cleaner when you use floss.

Types of dental floss

Dental floss has come a long way from its humble beginnings. You can now get dental floss of different kinds including

  • Waxed

  • Unwaxed

  • Monofilaments

  • Multifilaments

  • Braided floss

  • Dental tape (a flatter version of the string floss)

You can also get flavored floss or floss that has anti-bacterial properties. If you are uncomfortable using your fingers to hold and manipulate the floss, you can get floss holders in different designs to make flossing easier. You can also get water flossers that use water under pressure to clean the teeth.


If you are concerned about your dental health, then do use dental floss regularly after brushing at least once a day. It will help you maintain oral health and reduce the risk of many dental and other problems.


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