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Prior to the invention of modern dental floss, animal hairs such as the hair from a horse’s tail were used for flossing. The first thread-like form of dental floss was invented by American dentist Levi Spear Parmly; Parmly is credited with the idea of using silk thread for flossing. Toward the end of the 19th century, the Codman and Shurtleft Company began mass production of an unwaxed, silk dental floss. In 1896, Johnson and Johnson began production and distribution of their version of a silk dental floss. However, it wasn't until World War II that nylon dental floss became available. Nylon dental floss continues to be the most widely used form of dental floss today.Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.