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The History of the Toothbrush

By March 30, 2016June 5th, 2018Orthodontics
the history of toothbrush

Considering Dr. Sharma is a Surrey orthodontist, it’s no wonder he’s a proponent of good oral hygiene. We all know one of the basic tenets of this is brushing your teeth twice a day using your trusty toothbrush. But have you ever stopped to wonder about the history of dental hygiene or more specifically, the history of the toothbrush? Well, wonder no more because Aura Orthodontics is here with a toothbrush history lesson.

The History of the Toothbrush

5000 B.C.

Toothpaste actually predates the toothbrush. Around 5000 BC it was thought Egyptians used a paste to clean their teeth. In India and China toothpaste made its appearance around 500 BC.

3500 B.C.

As far back as 3500-3000 BC the Babylonians and Egyptians cared for their teeth with makeshift toothbrushing tools. They’d fray the ends of a twig to keep their chompers clean.

The History of the Toothbrush

1600 B.C.

The Chinese chewed on aromatic twigs, or chewing sticks, in 1600 BC to give themselves fresh breath.

700 A.D.

In 700 AD the Chinese took their dental hygiene a step further with the first bristle toothbrush. They used hairs from a hog’s neck as the bristles and attached them to a handle made of bone or bamboo. When Europeans caught wind of the design they swapped out the hog’s hair bristles for ones made of horsehair or feathers.


William Addis of Clerkenwald, England created a toothbrush with a modern design in 1780. The handle was carved from cow bone and the brush was still crafted from swine bristles.

The History of the Toothbrush


In 1844, the three-row bristle brush came into existence and by this time the Addis company was mass-producing toothbrushes.


Colgate created the first mass produced toothpaste in a jar in 1873. It contained soap like much of the toothpaste of its time.

The History of the Toothbrush


Dr. Washington Sheffield manufactured the first toothpaste in a collapsible tube in 1892.


In 1914, fluoride was first added to toothpaste.


In 1938, the first toothbrush with nylon bristles was developed after Wallace Carothers invented nylon at DuPont. Prior to that, toothbrushes were always made with natural bristles.

The History of the Toothbrush


During World War II, troops were supplied with nylon bristled toothbrushes. It actually wasn’t until then that the public became more interested in oral hygiene and the nylon toothbrush – and daily toothbrushing – became commonplace.


The first electric toothbrush was produced and developed in Switzerland in 1939.


In 1960, Squibb introduced the first American electrical toothbrush called the Broxodent.

The History of the Toothbrush


In 1987, Interplak became the first rotary action electrical toothbrush marketed for use at home.


The first ultrasonic toothbrush, now known as Ultrasonex, was patented in the U.S. in 1992.

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