While today, it is impossible to imagine a fresh morning without brushing our teeth, it is intriguing to note that something that appears technically as simple as a toothbrush has a deeply fascinating history and several stages of evolution. Though the concept of oral hygiene measures dates back to pre-historic times, it is the Babylonians who take the credit for introducing the idea of toothbrush, albeit in a crude form. The rudimentary brushing technique, developed by the Babylonians, traveled through many stages of transition to assume the shape of the modern toothbrush that we use today. Read on to know the enthralling history of toothbrush.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Toothbrush
The fascinating beginning of toothbrush can be traced back to 3500 BC, when “chewing sticks” were used by the Babylonians. However, the ancient Greek and Roman literature has registered the chewing of primitive toothpicks to clean the mouth and teeth. With the passage of time, these toothpicks matured to assume the size of a modern pencil and became a chew stick. One end of the chew stick was masticated, to soften it into a brush-like fiber, while the other pointed end was used as a pick for the purpose of cleaning food and debris from between the teeth. The twigs for chew sticks were taken from aromatic trees, with the ability to sanitize and refresh the mouth.
The other cultures during that age, including the Greeks, Romans, and Indians, also used twigs to clean their teeth. These people used to fray one end of the twig to facilitate its better penetration between the teeth. It is believed that the first-ever bristled toothbrush originated around 1600 AD, in China. A Chinese emperor used hog bristles and a bone handle as his brushing technique. Therefore, the Chinese are credited with inventing the first toothbrush with natural bristles. This was the time when the Europeans were still using the ancient Greek style of brushing that centered on dipping linen cloth or sponges in sulfur oils and salt solutions and rubbing away the grime from teeth.
The bristled brushes came to be commonly used in Europe and Japan in the early 1800. The first toothbrush per se was made by William Addis of England in around 1780. H. N. Wadsworth, from America, bagged the first toothbrush patent in 1857, when the country had just begun finding its feet in the toothbrush industry. The first hand made toothbrush was produced in the year 1844, by Dr Meyer L Rhein, and was manufactured as a three-row brush of serrated bristles. In 1885, Pro-phy-lac-tic brush was introduced in the U.S markets by Florence Manufacturing Company of Massachusetts (in association with Dr. Rhein). All these brushes made use of animal-hair bristles.
It was as late as 1938 that synthetic materials (notably nylon) started replacing the animal-hair bristles. The first nylon toothbrush to go on sale was “Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush”, which was made available for mass consumption on February 24, 1938. The first electric toothbrush was developed in Switzerland, in 1939, which served to stimulate the manual brushing action and improve the cleaning. Today, apart from the normal toothbrushes, there are natural toothbrushes available that do not require toothpaste. Power toothbrushes, disposable toothbrushes, travel toothbrush, baby toothbrush, and dog toothbrushes have also made their mark in the toothbrush market.