Still Brushin’, After All These Years… Happy Birthday, Toothbrush!


At Advanced Family Dental, your Lakewood Family dentists, we’re celebrating the toothbrush this June– according to some sources, this indispensable tool was invented June 26th!

The Latest and Greatest

Our modern toothbrush was actually released in 1938 after the strict military discipline from WWl popularized tooth brushing. Its synthetic bristles– usually nylon– replaced the hog’s hair previously employed for teeth-cleaning. It was also one of the first brushes that was disposable; earlier incarnations of the tooth brush were usually made of ivory or bone and kept for years, their bristles replaced periodically via tiny screws.

The new, synthetic toothbrush of 1938 was just the latest in a long line of oral hygiene tools used by centuries of human civilizations:

Teeth “Treetments”

The chew stick was a two sided instrument with one frayed end and one sharpened, toothpick end. Chew sticks have been found in 3500 BC Babylonia, Egyptian tombs, and mentioned in Chinese records. Greeks and Romans employed the toothpick aspect of the chew stick, and in parts of Africa there is a species of tree, salvadora persica, known as the “toothbrush tree,” dedicated to the creation of chew sticks.

100% Natural

Hog’s hair was found in the first bristle toothbrush, during the Tang Dynasty (619-907) in China. Horse-tail hairs and boar bristle were also popular choices for these first toothbrushes. Bristle toothbrushes took longer to popularize in Europe, where for centuries people utilized rags and a combination of soot and salt to clean their teeth. In 1780, however, William Addis of England introduced the model of animal-bone-and-hogs-bristle to the general populace, with richly rewarded success.

Unfortunately, while animal hair toothbrushes enjoyed wide use for centuries, they are not the ideal bristle material– they fall out easily and harbor bacteria from their previous owners. The invention of synthetic bristles in the 1930s was a welcome change for hygiene conscious consumers and dentists everywhere.

Just a Reminder…

To get the biggest bang out of your brush, use it at least two times a day for at least two minutes at a time, combined with flossing at least once per day. Replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head, for electric brushes) at least every three months. And finally, be sure to schedule regular check-ups with Drs Matheson, Skinner, and Sefcik, and we will happily regale you with more toothbrush history while we check your pearly whites!

If you need more info contact us!

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