The evolution of dental floss: Background and modern features

The evolution of dental floss: Background and modern features

What is a dental floss device

Dental floss is a form of interdental cleaning device made up of thin Nylon or Teflon filaments bound together to form a flat cord. It is used to clean plaque or food from between the teeth, inhibiting bacteria growth and preventing diseases like gingivitis and tooth decay. Dental floss was invented in the early 1800s by American dentist Levi Spear Parmly and made using silken threads. Nylon was replaced by silk as the most common floss material during the Second World War owing to the increased silk prices.

Historical facts

Some interesting facts about Dental Floss are listed below:

  • History studies have shown that our ancestors too used materials such as horse hair as an early form of dental floss
  • Flossing can surprisingly help prevent heart and cardiovascular diseases like clogged arteries.
  • Monkeys have been observed to floss in the wild and in captivity using feathers and human hair.
  • It is so strong that in some cases inmates have sawed their way through bars using Dental floss and even collect considerable amounts of it to convert into ropes to use to scale prison walls.
  • The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using 18 inches of floss daily. That’s almost 183 yards annually — nearly the length of two football fields!
  • Floss is also available in a multitude of flavors including mint, cinnamon, bubblegum, and even fried meat.

The evolution of dental floss technology

Dental floss is an essential health care product and a daily use product. However, the traditional floss products available on the market do not offer a hygienic and self-sanitizing solution. The dental floss can easily wear out or get dirty when put into pockets or purses. Moreover, dental floss which requires the user to pull out the thread and floss using their fingers can lead to contamination, causing unwanted germs and bacteria to enter the mouth.

To solve this problem automated dental floss solutions have entered the market. A typical automated dental floss contains the following features which ensure easy and sanitary use of the floss from germs.

Protection from contamination

Some automated dental floss devices come in a special box that emits UV light which helps in sanitizing the thread when the floss/product is placed inside it. The UV rays box is a separate unit that serves as a storage and sterilization compartment for the dental floss device. The box is typically compact and designed to fit on a bathroom counter. The box uses ultraviolet (UV) light to kill germs and bacteria on the device, preventing the growth of harmful microorganisms that could lead to oral infections.

Travel friendly

Automated dental floss devices are designed for use at home and on the go. As some devices have special cases for self-cleaning, it makes it easy to transport and protect the device while on the move.

Rechargeable batteries

Automated dental floss devices are powered by batteries, which can either be disposable or rechargeable. Devices that come with rechargeable batteries are more convenient as they can be charged using a USB cable or a charging dock. Rechargeable batteries are also more environmentally friendly as they reduce the amount of waste generated from disposable batteries. On the other hand, some automatic dental floss devices come with a wireless charging feature, which eliminates the need for a charging cable. Users simply place the device on a charging dock to recharge the battery.

Automatic thread replacement

Through an automated solution, the users are free to replace the old thread with a new one with the push of a button. As the floss reel is inserted inside the device a blade is also inserted to help cut the used thread.

In some automated devices, a floss cycling mechanism is installed to prevent the floss thread from slipping as the thread is usually wax coated or made of nylon which is quite slippery on its own.


Some automatic dental floss devices come with built-in timers that alert users when they have completed the recommended flossing time (usually 2 minutes). This can help ensure that users are flossing for an adequate amount of time.

App integration

In some devices, the users are offered the capability to integrate device data with smartphone apps, which can provide them with real-time feedback on their brushing and flossing habits. The app can track brushing and flossing time, offer personalized tips, and provide reminders to replace the thread in the floss.


Modern devices also tend to have ergonomic designs which translate into a great user experience. Floss design such as that created by Devomech Solutions offers a comfortable and ergonomic design that can easily fit in the hand of the user and all the buttons are placed intelligently so that they are easily reachable.

Learn more about the design and prototype of an automatic dental floss device by Devomech Solutions with a UV rays case to ensure proper hygiene and ease of use.

Share this!

You may also like