As long time Santa Monica dentist professionals, we hope that all our patients know proper teeth cleaning techniques that should be followed morning and night: brush, floss and mouthwash. We hope that our patients follow these steps because chances are they will keep their teeth healthy, and avoid getting cavities and other problems. Last week, we had a young patient who was fascinated with dental floss, and was eager to hear how floss has been around for much longer than most people imagine. We decided to share the history of dental floss in this article, so all our patients can read about it.

What is dental floss?

dental floss in Santa Monica

Dental Floss

Before we get into the history of dental floss, let’s first define what it is. Dental floss consists of a string-like material made from plastic or silk in a container. The string is inserted in between teeth to remove food and dental plaque for optimal teeth cleaning. Dental floss can be waxed or unwaxed, and flavored or unflavored. It is found in most drugstores and food retailers around the country.

History of dental floss

Before we get into the history of dental floss, let’s first define what it is. Dental floss consists of a string-like material made from plastic or silk in a container. The string is inserted in between teeth to remove food and dental plaque for optimal teeth cleaning. Dental floss can be waxed or unwaxed, and flavored or unflavored. It is found in most drugstores and food retailers around the country.

History of dental floss

Many people will be surprised to hear that dental floss has been around for a very, very long time. Unlike mouthwash, it is not a modern invention. According to Oral-B, anthropologists have found that our ancestors have long used sharp sticks and other contraptions to clean between teeth, as their form of teeth cleaning.

However, dental floss in more current form was discovered by New Orleans dentist, Levi Spear Parmly, in 1815, when he recommended silk floss to his patients.

In 1882, dental floss’s popularity grew enough for it to be marketed by Massachusetts Company, Codman and Shurtleft, who promoted their version of unwaxed silk floss.

Dental floss’s heyday arrived in 1896, when Johnson & Johnson took an interest and developed the first patent in floss.

In the 1940s through 1950s, Dr. Charles C. Bass, known as “The Father of Preventive Dentistry” developed nylon dental floss to replace the silk one.

Since the 1950s, dental floss has become a main staple in American bathroom cabinets, and a regular part of the teeth cleaning routine. Hale & Hale D.D.S., your local Santa Monica dentist, encourages patients to find a type of dental floss that works best for them.

For more information about proper teeth cleaning procedures, visit Hale & Hale, D.D.S.