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Who Invented The Toothbrush?

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The majority of people today brush their whites several times a day. This prevents cavities and keeps our teeth whiter. So, if you are ever curious who created the toothbrush, here is the scoop. In the early 3500 B.C. Babylonians were credited with the first culture to use what we call the modern toothbrush. Their version was a stick, which you actually chewed the end until it was gone. Once it became about the size of our modern day pencil, it was thrown away and another was found. They would usually grab the sticks from trees that had a flavor or a smell to them. This would give them a feeling of cleanliness.

Chew sticksThe Miswak stick is quite popular among the Muslims and its origins can be traced back to the Babylonians around 3500 B.C.

History of toothbrush

Many individuals throughout history used many different forms of the toothbrush. The Neem tree was used in the Indian cultures to create toothpaste and other dental hygiene products throughout the millennia. With this product, an individual would chew on an end of the stick until it formed a brush. Then they would use it to brush their teeth. The Muslims made twigs that they called the miswak or the siwak. Sometimes they would use with a root so it could be used for medicinal reasons as well. Other cultures would apply baking soda or use chalk on their teeth to clean them.

The first bristled brush

The first known toothbrush that was bristled has been tracked back to the Chinese. It was brought to the new world by Europeans. This brush was created with hairs. The wild boar of Siberia or a horse’s hair was used in the first few designs. The handles were typically made of bone or they would use bamboo. However, the boar hair was so tough on gums it would actually cause injury. Many people refused to use this device. The horse hair toothbrush was much softer; this was the choice by individuals in that day. In Europe, it was a normal thing after a meal to have a toothpick. They were generally made from goose feathers.

Napoleon's Toothbrush (1790-1821)Napoleon’s toothbrush. The bristles were made from horse’s hair. The handle shows his monogram “N”. The concept is clearly from the original inventor, William Addis.

The Chinese were the first

Chinese cultures are credited with creating today’s toothbrush and it was documented in about 1498. The marketing factor came into play by William Addis, a resident of England. He was incarcerated with the charges of inciting a riot. While he was locked up, he grabbed some bone, created some holes on the bone and placed hair bristles inside, then fastened them onto the brush. Due to this invention, William Addis, became a rich man. This product was massed produced by his family members around 1780s. They used the bones of cattle. The bristles were mainly from horse’s hair.

Modern toothbrush by Wallace Carothers

Wallace Carothers created the nylon bristles with the DuPont Labs in the US. This made the use of any real animal hair brushes null and void. This was a very good thing as animal hair could carry bacteria. With the nylon you have a very durable material and one that is also resistant to natural germs. The first toothbrush that was electric became available in 1939 from Switzerland.

Related to toothbrush: Toothpaste invention.