The modern toothbrush has been specifically designed to enable us to effectively care for our smiles. However, the toothbrush as we know it today was not invented until 1938. Let’s take a look at the evolution of the toothbrush through time.
Teeth-cleaning tools have been around since 3500-3000 BC. In Babylon and Egypt, people used twigs with frayed ends to clean their teeth. In about 1600 BC, the Chinese chewed aromatic tree twigs to freshen their breath.
The first natural bristle toothbrush was invented by the Chinese in the 15th century when bristles from pigs’ necks were attached to a bone or bamboo handle. As this idea was brought to Europe, the design of the toothbrush altered somewhat. The Europeans preferred using horsehairs instead of pig bristles, as they are softer. Other variations on the toothbrush in Europe used feathers. Around 1780, a toothbrush of more modern design was invented by William Addis in England. This toothbrush was also the first mass-produced toothbrush. The handle was carved from cattle bone and the brush still used swine bristles.
Boar bristles were used for toothbrushes until 1938, when nylon bristles were invented by Dupont de Nemours. During World War II, soldiers had very disciplined hygiene habits. Americans were influenced by this and became more concerned with practicing good oral hygiene. Because of this, the nylon toothbrush became more widespread.
Today, toothbrushes come in many varieties. Both manual and electronic toothbrushes are available. Generally, the handles are made from molded plastic in varying designs. The nylon bristles come in differing levels of softness.
For more information and to schedule an appointment with our dentist in Colorado Springs, Colorado, contact Pollary Family Dentistry today. Dr. Kenneth Pollary and our team are happy to answer any questions you may have.