As far back as we can go in history, humans have had teeth. We also know that teeth need to be cleaned if you want to keep them. Failing to brush or clean your teeth on a daily basis can result in cavities, gum disease and other dental problems. However, the toothbrushes and toothpaste we know today have not always been around. Still, people found ways to keep their pearly whites clean. Here’s a brief but interesting look into the history of a toothbrush:
The Chew Stick
Centuries ago, people turned to nature to find tools to clean their teeth. The chew stick is a primary example. These are simply twigs with one end frayed by chewing. Chew sticks are then used to brush away plaque and food debris just like our modern day toothbrush. The Ancient Egyptians are known for using chew sticks for their oral hygiene and certain African countries still use this method today.
Putting charcoal powder on your teeth to clean them may seem counterintuitive. The truth is, however, charcoal can be an effective way to rid the teeth of bacteria, plaque and stains. British merchants were said to have performed their dental hygiene with charcoal and a rag. Charcoal served as their form of toothpaste.
The First Toothbrush
During the Middle Ages, the first resemblance of a toothbrush began to emerge. Boar hair or horse hair was used as bristles and attached to a stick to act like a toothbrush. However, the official invention of the first modern toothbrush can be attributed to a British man named William Addis. He designed a toothbrush using animal bone and drilled holes for bristles while he was serving time in prison!
The use of nylon for bristles occurred in 1937. From there, the modern day toothbrush was mass produced and continued to evolve to designs we see in the stores today. In fact, consumers now have a wide variety of toothbrush options, ranging from soft and hard bristled types to more advanced power-operated designs.
Choosing a Toothbrush for You
At Gilreath Dental Associates, we always help patients choose the best toothbrush design for their unique clinical needs. For instance, someone with sensitive or receding gums may need a soft-bristled brush while another patient may benefit from an electric toothbrush due to poor dexterity or limited coordination. Regardless of which modern toothbrush design you choose, it doesn’t change the fact that your teeth need to be brushed twice a day for two minutes each session. Contact our Marietta office today to learn more!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,