For thousands of years, humans have recognized the value of their teeth and cared for them as best as they knew how. Over time our ability to care for our teeth has vastly improved through some marvelous inventions. At the heart of these inventions is the toothbrush. Here is a brief timeline on the evolution of the toothbrush:
3500-3000 BC: Babylonians and Egyptians clean their teeth with the frayed ends of twigs. These are such a vital aspect of the lives of Egyptian royalty that they have been discovered in the tombs of Pharaohs.
1600 BC: The Chinese design the first natural bristle toothbrushes from pig hair and bone or bamboo.
1780 AD: William Addis invents his version of the toothbrush from cattle bone and horsehair and sells it in Europe.
1844: The first three-row bristle brush is created.
1847: The first U.S. patent for a toothbrush is filed by H.N. Wadsworth.
1935: Wallace Carothers and his team of chemists create the super-polymer that will eventually be called nylon.
1938: Bristles made from nylon are incorporated into toothbrushes.
1939: The first electric toothbrush is made.
1950: Softer bristles become available.
Today: Toothbrushes come in many shapes and sizes, both manual and electronic. They are often made from plastic with molded grips and soft nylon bristles for brushes.
We humans really value our toothbrushes. To demonstrate this fact, in a 2003 Lemelson-MIT survey, participants ranked a list of inventions in order of what they couldn’t live without. Among items like computers, cell phones and microwaves, the toothbrush was selected as the number one item. So next time you reach for your toothbrush, think back on its evolution and let yourself feel gratitude for all the genius and hard work that produced the article before you.
Would you like to take further steps to improve your oral health? Just call 601-790-9245 to reach Gluckstadt Family Dentistry in Madison, Mississippi. Dr. Robert Hauptman and our excellent team will offer you a state-of-the-art dental exam and cleaning. We’re here to make you smile.