Where would the world be without the humble toothbrush? It is an important part of our everyday routine and living practices. Toothbrushes come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. They have been designed and redesigned to help us take better care of our teeth and claim to do all sorts of miraculous things for our dental hygiene. Have you ever wondered who thought up the idea of the toothbrush? Read on to find out.
Who Invented the Toothbrush?
Early forms of dental hygiene have been around since 3000BC. Many ancient civilizations used chew sticks to clean their teeth. This was a soft stick that was chewed at one end to form a soft splayed area and sharpened at the other. The splayed end was used to rub across the teeth to clean them and the sharpened end as a tooth pick. The first toothbrush that resembles what we know as a toothbrush was invented in China in 1498. These toothbrushes consisted of a handle made of bone or bamboo with stiff hog hair inserted for bristles. There is some evidence to suggest that the invention of the bristle toothbrush was earlier than this dating to about 1223 where the bristles were horse hair. The toothbrush was first mass produced in England by William Aadis in 1780. He came up with a similar design to the Chinese while in jail in 1770. By 1840 toothbrushes were being mass produced in England, France, Germany and Japan. Animal hair, predominately hog and horse hair, were used as bristles in toothbrushes up until 1938 when nylon was invented. The bristles were then replaced with nylon bristles by Dupont de Nemours. The first nylon bristle toothbrushes went on sale on February 24, 1938. This toothbrush was called Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush.
The Electric Toothbrush
The first electric toothbrush was invented in 1939 in Switzerland. General Electric’s introduced the first cordless electric toothbrush for home use in 1961. Interplak was responsible for the first rotary action electric toothbrush in 1987. Since then the toothbrush has continued to evolve and change but the purpose remains the same… Nice, clean, shiny smiles.