Using yours correctly? Contact a licensed dental professional for assistance
There are around 3.5 billion toothbrushes sold worldwide every year. But how much do you know about this everyday dental-hygiene tool? The Library of Congress has some interesting facts.
Although the toothbrush as we know it today wasn’t invented until 1938, early forms of the toothbrush have been in existence since 3000 B.C. Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick”—a thin twig with a frayed end for rubbing against the teeth.
The bristle toothbrush, similar to the type we now have at home, was not invented until 1498 in China. The bristles were actually the stiff, coarse hairs taken from the back of a hog’s neck and attached to handles made of bone or bamboo.
Industrialization brought about the first mass-produced toothbrush, made by William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, around 1780. The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth (patent number 18,653) in 1857, and mass production of toothbrushes began in America around 1885.
Boar bristles were used in manufactured toothbrushes until 1938, when nylon bristles were introduced by the Dupont de Nemours company. The first nylon toothbrush was called Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush. Following directly on the nylon-bristle development, Americans influenced by the disciplined hygiene habits of World War II soldiers became increasingly concerned with the practice of good oral hygiene and quickly adopted the newfangled toothbrush.
In keeping with Americans’ love of the latest high-tech gadgets, the first major electric toothbrush hit the American market in 1960. Invented by Dr. Philippe Guy Woog, it was marketed by the Squibb company under the name Broxodent.
The American Dental Association has some tips to take care of your modern-day toothbrush:
- Toothbrushes should not be shared, as doing so could result in an exchange of bodily fluids and microorganisms between people.
- Rinse the toothbrush thoroughly after each use to remove any remaining paste and debris.
- Store toothbrushes in an upright position after use and allow them to air dry. Storing a moist toothbrush in a closed container promotes microbial growth more so than leaving it exposed to the open air.
- Toothbrushes should be replaced approximately every three to four months or more often if the bristles become matted or frayed. The effectiveness of the brush decreases as the bristles become worn.
Are you using your toothbrush correctly and to its fullest advantage? Are you wondering which of today’s electric or battery models are right for you? Dental hygienists licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Dental Hygiene Board of California are trained to provide you with direct preventative dental care, assistance, and education on vital issues like proper toothbrushing, and professionals licensed by DCA’s Dental Board of California are happy to help with your dental-health needs. Check a professional’s license at https://search.dca.ca.gov.
Related Reading: Dental Hygienists Help Keep You Smiling and Healthy