Tooth-brushing: Then & Now

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The History of the Toothbrush

The history of tooth-brushing dates back as far as 3500-3000 BC. The Greeks are said to have only used rough cloths to clean their teeth, but Ancient Egyptians used twigs with frayed ends, and a powder of ground ox hooves and eggshells, for tooth-brushing.

In the 15th century it is believed that the Chinese invented the first actual toothbrush using bone or bamboo for the handle and boars hair for the bristles. The first modern design, mass-produced toothbrush was created around 1780 in Clerkenwald, England by a man named William Addis. He drilled holes into a carved bone handle and filled them with boar hair.

It wasn’t until the invention of nylon around 1938 that synthetic fibers replaced animal hair for the bristles. The first electric toothbrush was debuted in the US in 1960

Electric vs. Manual

Today, there is an ongoing debate about which style of toothbrush is better, electric or manual? According to the ADA (American Dental Association) they both work fine.

The only instance where an electric brush may have a better result is if it’s being used by someone who is unable to move well enough to clean the surface area of all their teeth. This means that people with a motor disability, arthritis or small children may benefit a little more from an electric toothbrush.

Toothbrush Use and Care

The ADA recommends that you brush for two minutes twice a day, and floss once a day.  Rinse your toothbrush off after each use to remove any remaining debris and let it air dry in an upright position, because storing it in a closed container will keep it moist and allow bacteria to grow. Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3-4 months, or when the bristles begin to fray and wear out.

Remember that practicing good dental hygiene will help contribute to an overall healthier you. Happy Brushing!