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Gettysburg Dentist discusses the History of Dental Floss

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 @ 13:03 PM

 

Dental floss


 

Walk into any drugstore and you’ll find an array of dental floss from unwaxed to waxed to dental tape to floss that uses high-tech Gore-Tex fabric. The varied and interesting choices cater to different dental needs. Dental floss has become sophisticated and a viable tool to maintain oral health. It has come a long way. A look at the history of dental floss  will give us more appreciation for this humble string of sorts.

Archaeological records show that as early as prehistoric days, men had found the need to dislodge food particles from their teeth. Their teeth contained grooves consistent with those who used dental tools. In most likelihood, horse hair was used as floss and twigs as toothpicks. A recent research on Cova Foradà Neanderthal fossil shows toothpicks were used to mitigate pain caused by periodontal disease. 

However, it wasn’t until 1815 that an American dentist from New Orleans, Dr. Levi Spear Parmly (lovingly nicknamed the Apostle of oral hygiene), saw the importance of flossing teeth and introduced the idea of using waxed silken thread. In his book, A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth, he emphasized the importance of brushing and flossing the teeth daily. With that, the modern-day dental floss was born.

In 1882, some sixty-seven years later, Codman and Shurtleft Company, saw potential and mass produced dental floss using unwaxed silk.

Carrying yards of dental floss around can be cumbersome and in the 1870s, Asahel Shurtleff developed the first portable dental floss dispenser using a spool of thread with a U-shaped prong sticking out of its side.

In 1898, Johnson and Johnson secured the first patent for dental floss made with the same material used in silk stitches.

Silk dental floss tends to shred easily and with the dwindling supply of silk during the Second World War (1940s), Dr. Charles Bass, a medical doctor and researcher (aka Father of Preventive Dentistry) developed a dental floss made of nylon with higher resistance to shredding. In the same decade, waxed floss and dental tape appeared on the scene.

The 1980s saw the invention of interdental brush as an alternative to dental flossing.

As time goes by and technology becomes more advanced, dental floss has undergone many changes to make flossing a more pleasant experience. Flossing continues to be one of the key elements of good oral health and the American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day.

In addition to daily brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups are essential to maintain good oral health. Call us today for your dental needs.

 

Topics: Flossing, Gettysburg dentist

Flossing: Are You Guilty of Ignoring It?

Posted by Julie Berger on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 @ 15:07 PM

Recent studies have shown that a great many Americans are ignoring a simple activity that will keep their smiles looking gorgeous, help prevent cavities, reduce tooth loss, and – as many dentists and physicians believe – significantly reduce the chances of heart disease and strokes.

Though a large majority of patients swear they do this simple activity, according to the American Dental Association, more than 90% of Americans don’t!  What is that simple activity?  That’s easy – it’s flossing your teeth!  And just remember, a quick and strenuous attempt to floss right before your visit to our office doesn’t fool us!  Please continue reading – it can change your life!

Flossing is the absolute best method of cleaning bacteria and debris from the spaces in between your teeth and underneath your gums.  Left alone, that harmful film can cause cavities and gum disease, as it eats away at the bone that actually holds your teeth in place and causes your teeth to loosen and, sooner or later, be lost.  What’s worse, recent research has linked gum disease to heart disease and strokes.   But there’s hope for everyone!

Most activities require practice and patience.  You couldn’t play a musical instrument without practice and, more often than not, academic or professional tutelage.  You probably never solved a complex puzzle the very first time you sat down to try it.  And though flossing is certainly much easier than either of the aforementioned activities, far too many people try it just a few times and then give up in frustration believing that they can’t, and never will, do it correctly. But with a little patience and practice you definitely can!  And some of the better flosses in stores today make it so much easier than it has ever been in the past.

We at Samuels Dental Arts want you to keep your beautiful teeth for the rest of your life and maintain the best overall good health possible. Doing so involves flossing – remember, that simple activity – every day. We’re here to help you! Feel free to call us at (717) 778-4268 and we will arrange for one of our friendly, professional dental team members to give you a personal lesson. Or simply ask during one of your regular appointments.  We know that flossing correctly takes practice. But with the proper technique and commitment you’ll be a pro – and maintaining your beautiful smile and overall good health. Don’t wait another day! Call us today for more information. Your life and your smile are worth it!

Topics: Dental Hygiene, Flossing, General Dentistry, Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease

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