Brushing our teeth has long been touted as an important part of oral health. Using a toothbrush, a very simple personal hygiene tool found in every household, we’ve come to make a habit of using it more than twice a day. But, as often as we use the toothbrush, we don’t exactly know what it is, what it’s made from and most especially, how it came to be.
Since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, below is a quick history of the toothbrush and a few fun facts that you can share with your friends, family, and especially, children.
History of the Toothbrush
Ancient Egypiants are widely regarded as the first group of people to use a toothbrush, constructing one made of twigs and leaves to clean their teeth. Other cultures also adopted the same habit, specifically the Greeks, Romans and Indians. The Miswak, a stick used thousands of years ago to clean teeth are still being used by Muslims around the world per recommendation of their Prophet.
By the 15th century, the Chinese had begun using a toothbrush resembling the one we use today using a literal brush attached to a handle. Around a century later, English noblemen and privileged families began using toothbrushes made out of silver.
William Addis would then go on to invent what’s widely considered as the first modern toothbrush in 1780 while in prison. It’s believed that the idea came to him while get bored of watching how the floors were swept clean using a brush. He’d then fashion the toothbrush using a bone and bristles he had obtained from the guard. Once he got out, Addis would go on to make a fortune by mass producing his invention.
The design of the toothbrush would then be refined over time and in 1938, soft-bristles toothbrushes were invented. Soon enough, companies such as Oral-B would begin mass producing soft-bristled toothbrushes.
Innovation still has not left toothbrushes and up to this day, the design and the bristles are still being refined to better meet modern needs.
- Did you know that dentists recommend that the optimal time to spend brushing teeth is about two to three minutes? This would amount to around 122 days in a person’s lifetime. However, according to a recent survey, the average American spends only about 38 to 39 days brushing their teeth over a lifetime. That means that the average American spends only about 30 to 40 seconds brushing their teeth, as opposed to the recommended two to three minutes.
- In 2003, toothbrushes were considered much more important than phones and cars. However, many years later, another survey showed that roughly around 4 billion people use a mobile device, but about only 3.5 billion actually use a toothbrush!
- In an effort to cut down on the waste produced by toothbrushes every year, manufacturers have begun selling toothbrushes made out of recyclable materials, as well as ones that feature replaceable heads.
- While modern toothbrushes are usually made from synthetic fiber, it’s said that animal bristles are still used sometimes today.
Now that you could very well be considered a toothbrush guru, be sure to start sharing these fun facts with other people, especially children. After all, it is the National Children’s Dental Health Month!
Of course, you may also want to take the time to share just how important proper dental care is, including brushing twice a day, flossing and of course, frequent trips to the dentist for checkups and cleaning.
Call Dr. Gerald Middleton DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule an appointment. To learn more about the practice visit www.gmdental.com.