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The History of Dental Floss

Anthropologists have found evidence indicating that ancient humans used various implements for interdental cleaning, but dental floss as we know it today was not invented until 1815, when a New Orleans dentist began advising his patients to use a thin silk thread to clean between their teeth. In 1882, the Codman and Shurtleft Company in Randolph, Massachusetts began marketing an unwaxed silk dental floss, and in 1896, the first dental floss made by Johnson & Johnson debuted. Johnson & Johnson patented their dental floss two years later; it was made from the same material that doctors used for silk stitches. In the 1940s, nylon replaced silk as the material of choice for dental floss. Waxed floss soon followed, and in the 1950s, dental tape debuted. Today, there are many types of dental floss available – some are made with newer material like Gore-Tex, while others offer different textures and features, such as extra-soft or spongy floss.

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