The History of the Toothbrush
Wow, sonic technology to clean our teeth! That's what we have now, and it makes it easy to have cleaner, whiter teeth and healthier gums. The sonic technology drives the bristle tip velocity so that fluids can clean into tight spaces and the gum line. Healthy gums translate to a healthier heart. The toothbrush has come a long way.
But what did people use thousands of years ago before electricity or nylon was invented?
Well the first toothbrush was no doubt the human finger. It is recorded that people used salt, chalk or soot and rubbed it on their teeth with a finger or rag to clean their teeth.
In 3500 BC the Babylonians had "chewsticks" which were basically twigs that were chewed at one end to make "bristles" and left pointed at the other end to act as a kind of toothpick. Twigs were broken from trees with fresh aromas to help with a clean fresh feeling.
In India they used twigs from the Banyan tree (Ayruvedic Medicine) and
In 1223 a Zen master wrote that he observed monks using pieces of ox bone with short horsetail bristles attached.
China in 1498 European travelers could obtain a bristled toothbrush made of bamboo and hog bristles and they brought this invention back to Europe where it quickly caught on.
In 1770 a man named William Addis was incarcerated for rioting and while in jail came up with a bone handled, boar bristled brush he used in his cell. When he was released he started a family business, Wisdom Toothbrushes, that is still producing high quality toothbrushes today. He made a fortune!
Toothbrushes were mass produced in the USA in 1885 and had bone handles with boar hair bristles. These bristles were not sanitary and did not dry quickly. DuPont had produced a nylon bristled brush around 1938 but most Americans were not in the habit of regularly brushing until AFTER World War II. That's right! Soldiers were encouraged to brush regularly and they brought this habit back to their families after the war. The history of the toothbrush is fascinating!
Now we have toothbrushes of every shape and size and technology. They spin they vibrate they massage and whiten. You can have a toothbrush that beeps when you have brushed for 2 minutes or tells your kids "Good Job!" when they are done. Bristle heads are large, small, round and square. There are toothbrushes that cost one dollar or you can pay hundreds.
The most important thing to remember? Just Brush!