History of the Toothbrush


We all use a toothbrush multiple times throughout the day, but did you ever wonder where it came from? The history of the toothbrush is a fascinating story that will make you wonder what other everyday necessities have actually been around for ages!

The first signs of a toothbrush being used by human beings dates back to 3500 B.C. in ancient Egypt. The Babylonians and Egyptians would chew on a stick about six inches long until one end would become soft like a brush. They would use this softened twig to brush and pick between their teeth. In 1600 B.C., the ancient Chinese even used aromatic tree twigs to chew on and give them fresh breath.

The Chinese invented a toothbrush in the 1400s made from bamboo and tough hog hair. The Europeans soon changed out the hog hair for softer horse hairs as bristles, and by 1690, the word “toothbrush” began making its way around the world as French dentists started promoting the use of toothbrushes as a way to keep your mouth clean.

By 1780, the first modern toothbrush was invented by an English prison inmate William Addis. Almost 100 years later, after being redesigned and patented by Dr. Meyer Rhein and later by H.N. Wadsworth, American companies began mass-producing toothbrushes.

As the toothbrush began to gain popularity by the masses in the 1940’s, DuPont released nylon synthetic bristles, since a majority of people preferred these because they were more hygienic and softer.

By the 50’s, electronic toothbrushes started hitting the market, and around the late 80’s rotary action toothbrushes were all the rage.

Today, toothrbushes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Heads, handles, and bristles can all be customized to an individual’s unique liking. Over time, toothbrushes have evolved from tools to advanced pieces of machinery.

Our AZ family dentists can help you find the perfect toothbrush for you. Give us a call today!