Brushing the teeth is a task that most people are generally taught by the time they reach two years of age. However, this wasn’t always the case. While people did want to clean their teeth, it took centuries for the toothbrush to evolve from a rudimentary tool to the highly mechanized devices that exist today. Here is a look at toothbrush history from its early days of barely being adequate enough to remove debris from the teeth to its modern design of highly advanced styling and efficiency.
Toothbrush History – The First Bristled Brush
A look at the early days of toothbrush history shows that this useful tool as we know it might have first been designed by ancient Chinese civilization. Of course, earlier populations cleaned their teeth using whatever was handy, including fingernails, twigs, and slender sticks. However, around the end of the fifteenth century, the bristled toothbrush seems to have been created in China. Rather than relying on the frayed ends of twigs and small sticks to remove food particles and plaque from the teeth, the Chinese found a way to attach coarse hog bristles to the ends of a piece of bamboo or animal bone. Since the hairs were stiff, this method of cleaning the teeth was more effective than using twigs.
Toothbrush History – Mass Produced Toothbrushes
The very first mass produced implement in the history of the toothbrush happens to have been created by William Addis, an Englishman. During his incarceration for participating in a riot, Addis filled his time creating a bone-handled brush with boar bristles attached to it by wires. While it might not have been the prettiest implement, toothbrush history places this discovery as the first mass produced version of this tool.
Toothbrush History – Nylon Bristles
Remaining popular until 1938, boar bristles were eventually replaced with nylon ones. The first model was known as “Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush.” It was created by Dupont de Nemours.
Toothbrush History – Electric Models
Offering a gentle cleaning that is accomplished with oscillating bristles, electric toothbrushes are the latest versions to be included in the annals of toothbrush history. They are efficient and available in many styles.