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You know that flossing is a necessary part of an oral hygiene routine, but do you know how floss was first developed? Keep reading to learn more about the history of floss.


Archeologists have discovered that our ancient ancestors made an effort to clean between their teeth. They used small twigs as toothpicks and horsehair as floss.


Floss was first used in modern days by a dentist in New Orleans named Levi Spear Parmly. He told many of his patients to clean between their teeth with a waxed, silk thread. He later published a book named A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth in which he suggested flossing as part of a daily oral hygiene routine.


A company by the name of Codman and Shurtleft became the first to mass-produce floss for the public. They provided a silk, unwaxed version of floss.


The Johnson & Johnson company took the first dental floss patent in this year. They made their floss from the same type of silk thread that doctors used to make stitches at that time.


Silk had a tendency to shred when used as floss, and during World War II, it has become an expensive commodity. Dr. Charles Bass replaced silk with nylon, which was more elastic and had better resistance to abrasion.