Ancient times: “Floss” and toothpick grooves have been found in the teeth of prehistoric humans.
Dental floss development
1815: Dr Parmly, a New Orleans dentist, promoted teeth flossing with a piece of silk thread.
1882: Mass production of unwaxed silk floss began in the USA.
1898: The first dental floss patent was awarded in the USA.
1940s: Dr Bass developed a more shred-resistant nylon floss and promoted teeth flossing as an important part of oral hygiene. Waxed floss was also made.
Interdental brushes are a more recent alternative to flossing. These consist of a narrow brush available in different widths to clean in the spaces between teeth.