Despite the fact that most people brush their teeth the recommended twice a day, many people do not ever stop to think about how the modern day toothbrush came into existence.
Toothbrushes have been around since at least 3500 B.C., when they were used by the Egyptians and Babylonians. Back then, toothbrushes were not like the toothbrushes that are sold today. Instead, they were simply sticks that people would chew on until the sticks broke down and formed a brush on one end and a toothpick on the other end.
In the late 15th century, the Chinese updated the toothbrush by taking the hairs of the Siberian wild boar and combining them with bamboo sticks to make the first bristle type toothbrush. While this new toothbrush design was better able to clean peoples’ teeth, the boar hair was very rough on peoples’ gums. As a solution, some people started making toothbrushes with horse’s hair instead. Horse hair was expensive, however, so the boar hair toothbrush remained the most popular for quite a while.
The toothbrush experienced another major reinvention around 1780 when William Addis invented a toothbrush made of bone and bristles. Addis created his toothbrush by drilling small holes in a cattle bone, tying fibers from wild pigs in bunches, pushing the fibers through the small holes in the bone and gluing them in place.
The toothbrush continued to see improvements as the years passed. During World War I, companies began manufacturing toothbrushes with Celluloid handles. In 1937, Wallace H. Carothers created nylon, which was soon used for toothbrush bristles and which is still used to make toothbrush bristles today.
This month Bolivar Family Dental in Bolivar, Missouri is celebrating the modern toothbrush by giving away the number one recommended toothbrush by dental professionals worldwide: the Philips Sonicare EasyClean Toothbrush. This toothbrush, which is valued at $95, is sure to make for one very clean mouth and happy smile—no pig hair needed.