HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED how your toothbrush was made or how it is different from toothbrushes of the past? Teeth-cleaning tools have certainly come a long way from the frayed sticks Ancient Egyptians used around 3500 BC!
A Brief History Of The Toothbrush
The first toothbrushes that resemble modern ones were invented in China in the late 1500s and consisted of pig bristles attached to a bone or bamboo handle. Before long, the design caught on in Europe, where they sometimes would use horse instead of pig’s hair horse hair. Can you imagine cleaning your teeth with animal hair? It does not sound very fun, but with no other options back then, it beat chewing on frayed sticks.
Over the centuries, the design gradually became more like the toothbrushes we are familiar with. Toothbrushes were first mass-produced in 1780, in England. The first toothbrush with nylon bristles was made in 1938. Sixteen years later, Philippe Guy-Wood developed the first electric toothbrush in Switzerland. Even with the long history of toothbrushes and all the advances in the design, oral hygiene did not become a priority in the culture until soldiers brought their strict hygiene regimens home with them from World War II. Just one more reason to be grateful for our troops!
How Your Toothbrush Is Made
Nylon bristles and plastic handles were the last major change in what toothbrushes are made of, but how are they actually made? First, the handles are molded from plastic pellets. Then, a machine positions and attaches the bristles. Next, another machine trims the bristles to the right length. Finally, the finished toothbrushes are packaged and shipped.
The most important step before a toothbrush makes it to the cup beside your sink is quality control. The American Dental Association tests new toothbrush designs based on comfort and efficiency. Toothbrushes that meet their standards are given the ADA Seal of Acceptance, so make sure any toothbrush you purchase has it!
You And Your Toothbrush
A toothbrush earning the ADA Seal of Acceptance is not the end of the story. From there, it is up to you. Remember to brush your teeth for two full minutes twice a day, store your toothbrush upright in a dry place preferably far from the toilet, and do not forget to replace it every few months! A frayed, worn out toothbrush cannot do the job of preventing tooth decay and gum disease as effectively as a toothbrush in good condition.
Need A Recommendation?
We know there are many toothbrushes out there to choose from, and there is no one toothbrush that is perfect for everyone. Children need different brushes than adults, people with braces need different toothbrushes than people without, people with sensitive teeth need toothbrushes with extra soft bristles, etc. So if you are having trouble finding the best brush for you, just ask us at your next dental appointment!
We can help you find the brush that is right for you!
Top image by Flickr user Pascal used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.