Dental Floss: FSA Eligibility
What is dental floss?
Dental floss is an indispensable oral health product used to clean spaces between the teeth that toothbrushes cannot reach. This practice is invaluable to promoting optimal gum health and clearing plaque and bacteria from the spaces in between teeth to prevent the development of tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. Modern dental floss is made with synthetic fibers like nylon or Teflon that are resilient and can provide some measure of friction to assist in removing plaque and other particulates from the surfaces and gaps between teeth (American Dental Association).
Variants of dental floss have been used since prehistoric times in the form of horse hair or twigs used as toothpicks to dislodge substances from teeth, but the invention of modern dental floss is credited to American dentist, Dr. Levi Spear Parmly. Parmly introduced the idea of utilizing silk thread reinforced with wax as a means of clearing food and other material from the spaces between the teeth. However, it wasn't until 1882 that the Codman and Shurleft Company introduced the first commercial version of dental floss that was made with unwaxed silk thread. However, the first dental floss patent was awarded to Johnson & Johnson in 1898, and today's nylon dental floss was developed during World War II in response to rising silk costs (Spear Education).
Today, dental floss is not only available in a variety of resilient materials, but also in versions that can suit a user's individual preferences, such as spongy floss and soft floss. Additionally, other floss types include those with stiffened ends to make it easier to floss with braces and other orthodontic appliances. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once per day to remove plaque, bacteria, and other buildup that could contribute to future dental issues.