Six Fun Facts About The Beloved Toothbrush

toothbrushYou’ve heard it over and over again, about how important brushing our teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush, whether manual or electric, is to our oral and overall health. However, as much as you know about the importance of brushing, you probably don’t know much about your toothbrush.

Let’s see. You do know that it’s a dental appliance, and that it comes in many different types, with some with much softer bristles compared to others. But, what else?

Given how February is national children’s dental health month and how children love fun facts, here’s five about the beloved toothbrush.

  • The average person spends around 38 to 39 days brushing their teeth over their lifetime. While that number is daunting, most dentists claim that the number shows just how people neglect oral care, as it would only equate to around 40-seconds per brushing session, which is far from the recommended two-to-three minutes. Dentists believe that if people followed recommendations, the number should be around 122 days
  • Did you know that the materials used initially for toothbrush bristle was cow hair or boar bristles? It was only until 1938 that commercial toothbrush stopped using other materials and opted for nylon bristles thanks to Dupont De Nemour’s introduction of “Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush”.
  • Toothbrushes can be traced as far back as 3,000 B.C where ancient civilizations used a thin twig with a frayed end as a makeshift toothbrush.

The Chinese would then on “refine” this and in 1498, used a toothbrush made from stiff hairs from a hog’s neck and with bone or bamboo as its handle.

By 1780, William Adis would invent the modern toothbrush while in prison and make money by mass-producing it.

  • According to research, the average person buys about three toothbrushes every two years, or about once in roughly every eight or nine months. Again, this is far from the recommended every three to four months.
  • The journey of the toothpaste, the  toothbrush’s best buddy, is also quite intriguing. It’s believed that the first toothpastes were used back about 5000 years ago in Egypt using a formula consisting of oxen hooves, pumice and burnt eggshells.  This would then be refined over time until the 1800s, when the first semblance of the toothpastes we use today would also be used, with the collapsible tube being introduced in 1892 by Dr. Washington Sheffield of Connecticut.
  • In America, around 25,000 tons of toothbrushes are thrown around every year, leading to enormous amounts of waste. To cut down on this, manufacturers have begun selling toothbrushes made of recyclable plastic, as well as those with replaceable heads.


In line with the celebration of National Children’s Dental Health month, let us not forget to teach children the basics of proper oral hygiene. This includes, of course, the use of a soft-bristled toothbrush and brushing with it twice a day, flossing at least once and last, but not the least, visiting the dentist as regularly as every six months.

That said, now that you know all these fun facts about toothbrushes, why not share it with your friends and with kids? They will surely love it!

Call Dr. Gerald Middleton DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule an appointment. To learn more about the practice visit  


Call Dr. Gerald Middleton DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule an appointment. To learn more about the practice visit