You floss your teeth once a day, but have your every wondered who invented floss and how people used to clean between their teeth before its invention? Learn a little more about this interdental cleaner below.
Take Your Pick
In prehistoric times, a horse hair floss was used to clean between teeth. However, toothpicks were the preferred method for keeping good oral hygiene. Toothpick use was a common practice throughout history. In fact, in 536 B. C. China passed a law commanding its people to use toothpicks because the members of the army had very bad breath.
Floss Is Born
Levi Spear Parmly was a dentist in New Orleans who is credited for the invention of modern floss. In 1815, he began to tell his patients to clean between their teeth using silk thread.
Silk would be the medium used to clean out food and plaque from between teeth for over a hundred years. In 1882 a company called Codman and Shurtleft began to mass produce floss, followed by Johnson & Johnson 14 years later.
World War II Inventions
In the 1940’s, silk became a rare and expensive commodity because of the tumult of World War II. Nylon soon became the replacement for silk when Charles Bass created a nylon floss that we still use today. Waxed floss also came into use during these years.