A Little History And a Few Fun Facts About The Toothbrush

Boy brushing his teethBrushing 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.

Fun Facts

  • 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.  

To Fear or Not To Fear the Dentist | Riverside, CA

dental fearIf you ask anyone to name one of their biggest issues are regarding the upkeep of their health, a large percentage of them will say, “I hate the dentist”. If you ask why that is, chances are the response will be one of two things: the needles or that numbness that seems to last long after the procedure is complete. Unfortunately, there are a lot of needles used in your typical dentist office, and in order to help relieve your anxiety, some type of sedation is administered during the visit. And for many, this makes something as simple as a dental check-up a dreaded fact of life. And we ought to do this TWICE a year?!?! Yikes!

The problem is, one can never be too sure what will happen when they see the dentist, and this causes a lot of fear as the dental appointment slowly creeps up on us. In fact, there is an official diagnosis for this fear. It is called Dental Anxiety, or DA. So, see? You are not alone.

Thankfully, there have been a lot of advancements in the world of dental procedures. Now we utilize the digital age by working with technologies like lasers, digital radiology & impressions, and even social media. Yes, even social media can help ease your fears as a particular dental procedure looms near. The advancement that has come the furthest has been laser technology by far. In 2012, Convergent Dental introduced an isotopic CO₂ dental laser that can perform more than 95% of restorative treatment WITHOUT the use of needles. No need for needles, no need for anesthesia. Can you imagine?

It gets even better. Braces are no longer metal cages surrounding all of your teeth since the development of Invisalign. With 3-D technology, invisible aligners can be custom made for you, and as you follow your treatment plan, these subtle aligners will begin slowly straightening your teeth week by week. No popped wires, no head gear, no more awful selfies. It truly is a revolutionary development for all teenagers worldwide.

Now, what if you need a more difficult procedure, like a crown or veneers? A state-of-the-art procedure has been developed to not only make your procedure less painful, but also much more hassle-free than it’s ever been. Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramic (CEREC®) uses computers to design and manufacture ceramic restorations that are metal-free, tooth-colored and completely finished in one single dental visit. Yes, you heard it right. One visit. Are you starting to feel a little bit better now?

But what if you are one of those patients that will forever have a problem relaxing with a dentist? We know you’re nervous, but now we can offer you an oral sedative to settle those nerves enough for you to get through your visit, without IV sedatives or general anesthesia. At our Riverside dental location, we make it our business to provide you with the smile of your dreams, while making you feel comfortable at each visit by utilizing every type of dental technology available. So don’t be afraid. Give us a call to set up your next dental appointment. We aren’t your grandparents’ dentist anymore…

Call Gerald Middleton DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 for an appointment. Learn more about the practice by visiting the website at www.gmdental.com.




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 www.gmdental.com.  


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.  

Riverside, CA Dentist | Is That Your Smile or a Mouthful of Corn Kernels?

teeth whitening“I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He said to wear a brown tie.” – Rodney Dangerfield

It seems like everywhere we turn, we are exposed to yet another onslaught of what society considers a new trend in beauty. It is a constant struggle to try to keep up with the ever-changing beauty requirements imposed upon us. Whether we are flipping through our favorite magazines or watching our favorite celebrities on the screen, we are constantly surrounded by beautiful people. And while we may not all be able to be tall, svelte human beings, there is one thing that is possible to attain for even the commonest of folk: a gorgeous mouth full of white teeth.

Now I know what you’re thinking…”My teeth are FAR from being pearly white! What can I do to have one of those fantastic celebrity smiles?” As we all know, proper dental hygiene and regular visits to your dentist will always help, but is there anything else we can do to keep our ivories sparkling? The answer is yes. Take a quick look at your diet.

There are a couple of reasons that the food or drinks we consume tend to tinge our teeth a bit. Some foods and/or drinks are naturally a darker color, while others have a lot of acidity. And it’s these acids that start to wear down the enamel in our teeth so much that the dentin (which is a slightly yellower layer of our teeth) begins to show through. The more enamel you lose throughout your life, the yellower your teeth will become. Let’s take a look at some of these dental culprits:

First, we’ll start with the drinks. Because our teeth are very porous, it is easy for things to begin to change their hue. The darker the drink, the worse the stain so drinks like coffees, teas and red wines are always going to be somewhat rough on your teeth. In fact, even dark fruit juices can have a staining effect. On the other hand, carbonated drinks aren’t your friends either. Not only can dark sodas stain your teeth, but the acidity in them will start to erode your teeth enamel, exposing the dentin quicker than you’d like. Soda is definitely bringing two pistols to the gunfight.

When it comes to foods or spices, the rule of thumb is pretty easy. If it stains your mouth when you eat it, or your carpet when you spill it (think popsicles or spicy anything), it will stain your teeth. Dark sauces, like balsamic vinegars or curries, will leave remnants. Even healthy fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, blueberries and beets, all contribute to the discoloring of your teeth. The point is not to knock these delicious foods completely out of your diet; just keep in mind that they are all part of the problem and take some preventative measures upon consumption.

So, now that we know which kinds of foods are slowly changing the color of our smiles, what can we do to help deflect their influences? I know first reaction is to grab a toothbrush after you partake in one of these tarnishing foods, but make sure you wait an hour so you give your weakened enamel a chance to harden again. A surprising protector of your pearly whites is lettuce. For one magical reason or another, leafy veggies leave a protective film over your teeth that actually helps prevent staining altogether. But if you don’t have any salad hanging around, taking a gulp of water or popping in a piece of stevia-based gum afterwards will also help cleanse your teeth so the stains don’t have a chance. The more saliva you have in your mouth, the cleaner your teeth will remain.

If you are looking for a brighter whiter smile, call Riverside dentist Dr. Gerald Middleton at 951-688-3442 for more information on teeth whitening. Visit the website at www.gmdental.com.