According to The London Telegraph's "Quite Interesting" column, Italian mob boss Vincenzo Curcio had been convicted of murder and was facing further prosecution for seven more murders. Desperate to flee, he escaped from his cell in 2000 in Turin by sawing through the bars with nothing more than simple dental floss. You know, the stuff your dentist tells you to put in your mouth every single night? That stuff.
The same year, the Associated Press reported that Antonio Lara escaped from a state prison in Palestine, Texas by coating the bars with toothpaste and cutting through the bars with dental floss. He didn't escape from the jail, just his cell, so he could kill a rival inmate. Whether or not it was with the floss, we don't know, but we can always dream.
Metal bars that may or may not have been cut with a piece of floss
How were they able to cut through steel with floss? Floss is unbelievably durable, apparently almost magically so. According to the book Extraordinary Uses for Everyday Things, floss can replace the hanging wires for pictures frames, replace the threading in outdoor backpacks and tents, and remove a stuck ring off of a finger. We're assuming this is done by sawing your finger off with the floss.
Could MacGyver Have Done it Better?
When imprisoned in a basement (by Tia Carrera, in episode 320) he didn't settle for floss or any combination of dental hygiene products. Instead, he uses a set of cables and a pair of hi-fi stereo speakers to act as a sonar detector to find a secret door.
Wait, why couldn't he have just knocked on the wall like Indiana Jones would have? How much of MacGyver's overly elaborate gadgetry was just him showing off?