The Origin of the Toothbrush

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Have you ever wondered when and where toothbrushes were invented? Toothbrushes have an interesting history that goes back thousands of years. Dr. Spear and our team are happy to share some fun toothbrush facts with you.

the Egyptians and Babylonians used a twig with a frayed end to clean their teeth beginning around 3500 BC. In Ancient China (around 1600 BC), chewing sticks were made from aromatic tree twigs to freshen the user’s breath.

The Chinese are credited with inventing the first natural bristle toothbrush in the 15th century. Bristles from pigs’ necks were attached to a bamboo or bone handle. When the bristle toothbrush was brought to Europe, it was adapted to use horsehairs, as Europeans preferred this softer material.

In 1780, the first toothbrush that was mass produced was made by William Addis in Clerkenwald, England. Toothbrushes were not mass produced in America until 1885.

Until Du Pont invented nylon, natural bristles were the only way to make a bristled toothbrush. The first modern toothbrush with nylon bristles was invented in 1938. The first electric toothbrush was made in 1939, but the electric toothbrush didn’t make it to the United States until 1960.

Today, toothbrushes come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. They typically have plastic handles and nylon bristles. Handles can be angled, straight, curved, or contoured and may have grips or soft rubber areas to make them easier to hold. Toothbrush heads come in children and adult sizes. They can be rectangular, oval, oblong, or almost round. Toothbrush bristles typically range from very soft to soft, though harder bristles can be found.

To learn more about toothbrushes and to schedule your next visit with our dentist in Fort Worth, Texas, contact Brent A. Spear, DDS at 817.920.1488. Our dental professionals are excited to hear from you!