The Historic Origins of Modern Dental Floss

At our NE Calgary dental clinic, our dental hygienists and general dentists receive all different types of questions from our patients about dental procedures, oral care, and the latest technologies in the dental industry to name a few. However, we’ve never been asked about the origins of dental floss.

In an article by Chris Higgins on mental_floss, he writes:

“…in the modern era, credit goes to New Orleans dentist Levi Spear Parmly, who promulgated the notion of flossing one’s teeth with silk thread in his 1819 book A Practical Guide to the Management of the Teeth. It took until 1882 for the first commercial floss (“unwaxed silk floss”) to hit the scene, manufactured by Codman and Shurtleft.”

To read more on the history of modern dental floss including it’s connections to WWII, click here 


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