April 5, 2009 – 10:15 am

ToothbrushThe history of a toothbrush dates back to 3500 BC, where the Babylonians used “chewing sticks”, although there has been a mention of primitive toothpicks being chewed in ancient Greek and Roman literature, to clean teeth and mouth. As the years passed, toothpicks matured into the chew stick which was about the size of a modern pencil. One end was chewed softening it into a brush-like fiber, while the opposite end was pointed and used as a pick to clean food and debris from between the teeth. The twigs were chosen from aromatic trees that had the ability to clean and freshen the mouth.

Other cultures of that era such as the Greeks, Romans, Indians cleaned there teeth with twigs. They would fray one end of the twig so that it could penetrate between the teeth more effectively.

The first true bristled toothbrush originated in China at around 1600 AD by the emperor who did so by using hog bristles and a bone handle .The Chinese are thought to have invented the first natural bristle toothbrush, using bristles from pigs’ necks and attaching them to a bone or bamboo handle. They were used just like today’s modern tooth brush whereas the Europeans were still using the ancient Greek style of brushing the teeth dipping linen cloth or sponges dipped in sulfur oils and salt solutions and rubbing away all the tooth grime.

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In early 1800s the bristled brushes were in general use in Europe and Japan. At around 1780 the first tooth brush was made by William Addis of England.  In 1857 H. N. Wadsworth was the first American to receive a toothbrush patent as the country entered the toothbrush market. In 1844 the first tooth brush was made by hand and manufactured as a 3 row brush of serrated bristles by Dr Meyer L Rhein. In 1885 Florence Manufacturing Company of Massachusetts in association with Dr. Rhein brought forth Pro-phy-lac-tic brush in the market for mass marketing in US markets.

In 1938, natural animal hair bristles were replaced by synthetic materials, namely nylon, by Dupont de Nemours. “Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush”, was the first nylon toothbrush that went on sale in February 24, 1938.In 1939, the first electric brushes was developed in Switzerland, in an attempt to stimulate the action of manual brush along with better cleaning performance. Now the global market witnesses more than just the normal toothbrushes such as, apart from electric toothbrushes there are natural brushes which don’t need tooth paste, power toothbrushes, Disposable toothbrushes, travel toothbrush, baby toothbrush, and dog toothbrushes.

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