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Home > Fun Facts

Fun Facts

Omaha, Nebraska

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The Toothbrush

The toothbrush as we know it today was not invented until 1938. However, early forms of the toothbrush have been in existence since 3000 BC. Ancient civilizations used a "chew stick," which was a thin twig with a frayed end. These chew sticks were rubbed against the teeth.

The bristle toothbrush, similar to the type used today, 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.

Boar bristles were used until 1938, when nylon bristles were introduced by Dupont de Nemours. The first nylon toothbrush was called Doctor West's Miracle Toothbrush. Later, Americans were influenced by the disciplined hygiene habits of soldiers from World War II. They became increasingly concerned with the practice of good oral hygiene and quickly adopted the nylon toothbrush.

"That was the least pain I ever felt in the dentist's chair. I also greatly appreciate the fact the you did not make me feel I was being judged."
– Ken H.

(This was a new patient who had not been to the dentist in years)


Some other interesting toothbrush facts:
img_square-bullet.gif The first mass-produced toothbrush was made by William Addis of Clerkenwald , England , around 1780. 
img_square-bullet.gif The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth in the 1850's.
img_square-bullet.gif Mass production of toothbrushes began in America around 1885.
img_square-bullet.gif One of the first electric toothbrushes to hit the American market was in 1960. It was marketed by the Squibb company under the name Broxodent.


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