Where Did Toothbrushes Originate?

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Have you ever wondered when and where toothbrushes were invented? Toothbrushes have an interesting history that goes back thousands of years. Dr. David Smith and our team are happy to share some toothbrush facts with you.

Around 3500 BC, the Egyptians and Babylonians used a twig with a frayed end to clean their teeth. These toothsticks have been found in Egyptian tombs beside their owners.

The Chinese are credited with inventing the first natural bristle toothbrush in the 15th century. Bristles from pigs’ necks were attached to a bamboo or bone handle. When the bristle toothbrush was brought to Europe, it was adapted to use horsehairs, as Europeans preferred this softer material. Some bristle toothbrushes in Europe used feathers.

In 1780, the first mass-produced toothbrush was made by William Addis in Clerkenwald, England.

Until Du Pont invented nylon, natural bristles were the only way to make a bristled toothbrush. The first modern toothbrush with nylon bristles, which was called Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush, was invented in 1938. The first electric toothbrush was made in 1939.

Today, toothbrushes come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. They typically have plastic handles and nylon bristles. Handles can be angled, straight, curved, or contoured and may have grips or soft rubber areas to make them easier to hold. Toothbrush heads can be very small to accommodate children, or larger for adults. Toothbrush bristles typically range from very soft to soft, though harder bristles can be found.

For more information about toothbrushes and to schedule your next visit with our dentist in Lexington, Kentucky, contact Smith & Stahr, P.S.C. at 859.278.9391 today.