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A Brief History of Floss

Healthy Clean White Smile Floss

Humans have been treating their mouth related ailments for at least 10,000 years. Some of the earliest evidence of direct intervention of caries includes bow drills and accompanying dental abrasions in the archaeological catalog of the Indus Valley Civilizations dating back to 7,000 BC.  Early forms of the toothbrush have been attributed to Chinese civilization back in 3,000 BC.  Surely, pieces of string have been used to remove detritus from people’s teeth for as long as string has been around.  But invention of modern dental floss occurred much more recently in 1815 by New Orleans dentist Levi Spear Parmly.  In his book A Practical Guide to the Management of the Teeth, Parmly described a waxed string he developed to be used as a device to remove harmful debris from between the teeth and gum line as a way to prevent oral disease.   It is a simple concept and application, but since its initial inception dental floss has undergone numerous transformations over the years.

 

Levi Parmly’s promotion of his dental floss caused it to become widely accepted across the field of dentistry.  But it took nearly 70 years for it to reach the homes of the everyday consumer.  That’s when in 1882 Codman and Shurtlefelt started marketing the first mass available, non-waxed silk string floss.  From there it was only a matter of time before dental floss would become the staple of your daily oral care routine it is today.

 

The silk-based floss remained relatively unchanged until the 1940s and 50s.  Dr. Charles C Bass created a floss using nylon instead of silk, for its better elasticity and less fraying.  Within the same decade, dental tape came onto the scene offering a more comfortable feel between users’ teeth and greater tooth surface area covered.

 

Over the years, companies have developed floss and flossing technologies more and more to help accommodate an activity many people agree is not their favorite part of the day.  Floss today comes in many variations including waxed and unwaxed, mono- and multi-filaments, threaded and tape styles, various thicknesses, and picks and wands for easier handling.  The latest trend that is truly changing the game of cleaning between teeth is the interdental brush.  Very thin brushes used to get between teeth are shown to be more efficient at removing plaque than their flossing string counterparts. 

 

Of course, no discussion of reaching tight places between teeth and along gum lines would be complete without mentioning Doctor Plotka’s antimicrobial toothbrushes with flossing bristles!  The technology has come full circle where you now have a toothbrush with the unique ability to reach deep between teeth and into grooves to provide a superior cleaning experience.  Our brushes are not designed to replace flossing but are the perfect complement, and fill-in where flossing and brushing with the traditional tools fall short.

-Tim Mavroules

 

Sources:

http://www.historyofdentistry.net/dentistry-history/history-of-dental-floss/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_floss

History of Toothpaste

Oral hygiene has always been a top priority in society as far as we can remember. Although the toothpaste that we have available today seem to be more effective in preventing oral disease, the ones created in the past weren't too different!
Take a look at this brief timeline:
4th century AD: The Egyptians created the oldest known formula. It was a mixture of crushed rock salt, dried iris flowers and pepper. Even though this was known to create bleeding gums, researchers suggested that it was most effective compared to most toothpastes used as recently as a century ago.
1780: It was known that people were scrubbing their teeth with a powder mainly made of burnt bread. 
1824: A dentist (named Peabody) added soap to toothpaste for added cleanliness. However, later on, it was replaced by sodium lauryn sulfate to create a smooth paste.
1873: Colgate produced and launched their nice-smelling toothpaste and it was sold in a jar.
1892: Dr. Sheffield was the first person to put toothpaste in a collapsible tube -- it's been suggested that his version is the most similar to today's version.
1914: Fluoride was added to toothpastes after it was discovered that it significantly decreased dental cavities.
1975: Herbal toothpastes, like Tom's, became an alternative to cleaning teeth without fluoride. It contained ingredients like peppermint oil, myrrh and plant extracts.
1987: Edible toothpaste was invented. It was mainly used by children who were learning to brush their teeth, but it was invented by NASA so astronauts could brush their teeth without spitting into a zero-gravity abyss. 
1989: Rembrandt invented the first toothpaste that claimed to "whiten and brighten your smile". 
The world of dentistry is always evolving! I wonder what other milestones we'll reach today. 
-- Jackie

A Look Back on This Week in History

It is that time of year where 2018 is drawing to an end and we look forward with anticipation to all that 2019 will bring.  Many of us are coming down from the Christmas hustle and bustle.  It is a great time to unwind and reflect on the year in review.  I thought that this would be a good time to write a post that highlights some notable moments that occurred this week in history.  Trivia buffs rejoice!  For those of you lucky enough to still be spending some time with friends and family, this post will be fun to share around a fire or at the local watering hole!

So let's get to it, here are some events from this week in history that I have found interesting enough to share with all of you!

1620- Construction began on Plymouth Settlement in what will become Massachusetts

1776- General George Washington led beleaguered American Revolutionary troops across Delaware River to attack British and Hessian soldiers in Trenton, NJ

1814- War of 1812 ended with the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Amity between Britain and U.S.

1831- HMS Beagle departed with Charles Darwin on board on five-year survey of southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans

1845- Texas joined the Union as the 28th state

1888- Van Gogh cut off the lobe of his ear in a fit of dementia

1908- Jack Johnson became first African-American heavyweight boxing champion after defeating Canadian Tommy Burns in 14 rounds

1914- “Christmas Truce of 1914” WW1 German soldiers ceased fire, emerged from trenches and began singing Christmas carols.  They approached Allied forces across no-man’s land, extending a greeting of ‘Merry Christmas’, the opposing troops exchanged gifts, sang carols, and even played a friendly game of soccer

1923- Calvin Coolidge lit the first National Christmas Tree

1932- Radio City Music Hall opened

1962- To Kill a Mockingbird film debuted

1966- Jimi Hendrix wrote "Purple Haze" - the song that would later launch Hendrix’s fame in the U.S. and become one the most popular songs of all time

1968- Apollo 8 returned safely, completing the first manned mission to the moon

1969- Curtis Flood challenged the MLB’s reserve clause, paving the way for modern day free agency

1986- American aviators Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager completed the first global flight aboard the aircraft Voyager, circumnavigating the entire globe in 9 days on one load of fuel- with only 5 gallons to spare upon landing

1988- “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison reached #1, driven by airplay on MTV

2002- Katie Hnida became the first female to play in a Div. 1 college football game

(Note: all information was borrowed from The History Channel editors, www.history.com/this-day-in-history)

As you can see, this week in history had a lot of interesting and notable moments.  Some of which have helped shape culture and society today.  Are there any I missed?  Feel free to reach out and share some of your own!

-Tim Mavroules