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HISTORY OF THE TOOTHBRUSH
Though original toothbrushes started out as chewing sticks, over the years the toothbrush has changed quite a bit.
3500 B.C. Babylonians & Egyptians
Used Chewing sticks about the size of a pencil to clean their teeth
They would chew on one end of the twig until it became soft like a brush. The other end was used to pick between teeth.
1600 B.C. Ancient Chinese
Developed chewing sticks made from aromatic tree twigs for fresh breath
1400s Chinese to European
First hard bristle toothbrush was invented in China, made of bone, bamboo and hog hair
The Europeans replaced hard bristles with softer horse hairs or feathers
1690 The Word "Toothbrush"
Earliest identified use of word in English was in autobiography of Anthony Wood
French dentists were the first to promote use of toothbrushes
1780 William Addis
Brush made from swine bristles
Handle: carved from cattle bone
Made first modern toothbrush while in prison in England
1844 Dr. Meyer Rhein
Designed first three-row bristle brush
1857 H.N. Wadsworth
Fig 2. Wadsworth's patent
First to patent the toothbrush
American companies begin mass-producing toothbrushes
Nylon synthetic bristles
NOW A TOOTHBRUSH
The New Dr. West's
People preferred these because they were softer and more hygienic
1940s U.S. Army Soldiers
Brought habit of toothbrushing home after WWII
Developed and produced first electric toothbrush
1961 Rechargeable cordless toothbrush
1987 Rotary action toothbrush
2003 Lemelson-MIT invention index
The toothbrush was selected as the #1 invention people can't live without... beating out computers, cell phones, and cars
Toothbrushes come in many varieties...
Rectangular, oblong, oval and almost round
Ranges from very soft to hard in texture
Straight, angled, curved
Shaped in pointed arrow pattern to allow closer adaptation to gums. Used for cleaning along gum line adjacent to teeth
Miniature plastic moulded toothbrush, used when no water is available
Used for cleaning between wire of braces and teeth
The fundamentals have not changed since the Egyptians and Babylonians -- a handle to grip and a bristle with which to clean the teeth. Over this long history, the toothbrush has developed to become a scientifically designed tool using modern ergonomic designs and hygienic materials to save us from cavities and disease.