The History of the Toothbrush

The toothbrush as we know it today is a useful tool, capable of fighting off plaque, cavities and gum disease. You can choose between advanced bristle technology, electric brushes, and find an array of bristle strength to match your exact needs. But have you ever wondered what the toothbrush was like one hundred years ago? Or centuries ago?

At Spring Valley Dental Care, we’re proud of the dental technology we’re able to provide for those around Spring Valley, CA. The industry is constantly changing and evolving, and as such, we strive to stay up with the latest advancements. In honor of those who have helped evolve dental technology, we’d like to take some time to look at the history of the toothbrush. Keep reading to learn more!

The Early Alternatives to the Toothbrush

People have always cared to some degree about keeping their oral health in check. Before the toothbrush, there were other methods that served to clean teeth. One of these methods is the chew stick. Chew sticks are twigs that, when chewed on, become frayed. Once an end is frayed, it can be used to brush against the teeth, cleaning plaque off the surface and even between the teeth. While chew sticks have been found in tombs as far back as ancient Egypt, they’re still used today in certain parts of the world. In certain African countries, the chew stick can still occasionally be found from the salvadora persica tree.

Another method for cleaning teeth was the use of charcoal. Powders were used prior to the invention of toothpaste, and in many cases these were used without brushes. For example, British merchants used to use charcoal and a rag to clean their teeth. While it might not sound very pleasant, it definitely helped with their oral hygiene!

The History of the Toothbrush

The toothbrush itself has seen a number of iterations throughout history. During the Middle Ages, boar hairs were popular as bristles, as well as horse hair. These hairs would be fashioned to a stick, very similar to what toothbrushes look like today.

But the person who is credited with the first truly modern toothbrush is William Addis, a British man who designed the device in prison. He used an animal bone as the handle, and drilled small holes so that he could add bristles. From there, the toothbrush continued to evolve until around 1937, when nylon was invented, and was shortly thereafter implemented onto toothbrushes and mass produced.

Ready for a Dental Checkup? Call Spring Valley Dental Care Today!

It’s recommended you visit your dentist at least once every 6 months for a professional checkup and cleaning. Call us today at 619-670-4471 to schedule a consultation. You can also contact us here!