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Ever wonder where the idea of flossing came from? For centuries, people have used pointed objects to clean their teeth, but when did modern dental floss join the ranks of groundbreaking medical inventions?

In the year 1815, New Orleans dentist Dr. Levi Spear Parmly began using strands of waxed silk—the same silk used by doctors for stitches—to clean his patients’ teeth. He later published a book that highlighted the importance of flossing daily. Commercial production of floss didn’t begin until 1882, when the Codman and Shurleft Company began mass-producing unwaxed silk floss.

With the outbreak of World War II, the cost of silk rose to outrageous prices. To lower the cost of dental floss production, physician Charles Bass replaced the silk with waxed nylon material, which is more abrasive than silk and can withstand flossing without shredding. Nylon is still used in dental floss production.

Today, floss is made from nylon filaments, microfilaments and even Gore-Tex. Some dental flosses contain flavoring agents like mint to make flossing more enjoyable. Dental floss also varies in thickness to adapt to the different spacing between teeth. When choosing the best flossing product for your mouth, consider the spacing between your teeth, the texture of the floss and the sensitivity level of your gums.

To learn more about your personal flossing needs, contact Nitya Balan at 512.260.8330 or visit Discovery Park Dental in Cedar Park, Texas today.