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The History of Teeth Brushing

The History of Teeth Brushing

Nowadays, a lot of people have taken to the act of brushing twice daily that only a few people care to figure out how it all started. Sufficient evidence of dental care and hygiene has been found in excavated human remains from centuries ago, with some artifacts remaining from as early as 3500 BC. However, where did this practice start from and what type of tools were employed by our ancestors in cleaning their teeth.

How it all began: Ancient Tooth brushing using chewing sticks

In several locations of ancient civilization worldwide, chewing sticks have been found. These sticks come in different forms but they are often gotten from tree bark. The twigs are carved into a sharp toothpick-like form at one end, and bristle-like form at the other. The bristles were used to remove the plaque on the surface of teeth while the toothpick end was used to remove stuck food in between teeth.

The First Bristle Toothbrush from China

Around the 7th century, a new kind of toothbrush that has major similarities to today’s model was developed by the Chinese. It was made of hog bristles gotten from Siberian and Northern Chinese hogs, attached to a bamboo or bone handler. The bristles of these hogs tended to be harder – compared to species that lived near the equator – because they lived in cool areas. The Chinese spread this idea of tooth-cleaning all over the world using horsetail bristles and ox-bone handlers.

William Addis: Inventor of the Modern Toothbrush

In 1770, a certain English William Addis was jailed, while in jail, he fashioned the very first toothbrush that has a close resemblance to today’s model. He used a piece of animal bone and bored some holes into one end; he tied some bristles together and stuck them into the holes. Once he got out, Addis created a toothbrush manufacturing company that brought him huge fortune. After he died in 1808 his son took over the company and their family line managed the company till 1996. The company is known as Wisdom toothbrushes in the present day and they produce millions of toothbrushes in the United Kingdom.

Electric Toothbrushes and how they’re different from Manual Models

In 1954, the first electric toothbrush was created. It is very similar to the manual model but with a vibrating device that allowed the toothbrush to scrub the teeth more comprehensively. The electric toothbrush – when compared to the manual model – is more efficient and easier to use for individuals who have problems with dexterity caused by arthritis, muscle or bone related issues.

How about Toothpaste?

Toothpaste was formulated before the 9th century by the ancient Greeks and Romans using various kinds of substances such as crushed shells. These functioned as the grainy cleaners that remove plaque from teeth surface. Then the Persian musician Ziryabb who created a more effective formula that was said to be pleasant to the taste and highly effective in cleaning teeth, however the ingredients remain unknown.

As many years passed by, scientists worked on creating the ultimate toothpaste formula using experimental ingredients. The present day toothpaste formula first started as hydrogen peroxide and baking soda developed in the early 1800s. After the discovery of its dental health benefits, calcium fluoride was then added as a regular ingredient in toothpaste manufacture in the 1890s.

Today, we all understand the importance of cleaning our teeth regularly, but think about how hard it was for ancient civilizations. A great number of them probably had dental issues and missing teeth because their oral hygiene practices as compared to modern day dental care was largely ineffective. We should count ourselves lucky that scientists have developed our modern day toothbrushes and toothpastes and together with a proper dental hygiene, we can have healthy teeth.

The blog picture shows miswak stick – an old traditional natural toothbrush made from Salvadora Persica tree.  Miswak have been used to clean teeth over 7000 years ago and is still used as a natural alternative. 

Dental Joke Of the Day!

A husband and wife entered the dentist’s  office. The husband said, “I want a tooth pulled. I don’t want gas or Novocain because I’m in a terrible hurry. Just pull the tooth as quickly as possible.”

“You’re a brave man,” said the dentist. “Now, show me which tooth it is.”

The husband turns to his wife and says, “Open your mouth and show the dentist which tooth it is, dear.”

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