For many, getting up and brushing your teeth in the morning is as natural as choosing an outfit or cooking a meal.
But dental hygiene hasn’t always been a part of the common routine.
It took a few centuries for people to catch onto the feeling of fresh breath and satisfaction pearly whites. But you’d be surprised at how advanced early civilizations were in starting the movement.
To begin, let’s think back to the first known record of a toothbrush: a twig with frayed ends, which actually dates back to 3500-3000 B.C.
The Babylonians and ancient Egyptians are credited with the invention. “Toothsticks” have even been found alongside the owners of Egyptian tombs, accompanying other relics like perfume to ensure good health in the afterlife.
So, really, there hasn’t been that much time spent without toothbrushes Nowadays, experienced dentists like Dr. Maggie Chao in Pleasanton, CA don’t recommend going a single day without brushing. Can you imagine hundreds of years?
A Time Without Toothpaste
Toothsticks for brushing came after the original toothpaste, which was invented by civilizations in Asia, specifically in China and India, around 500 B.C.
In addition to their invention of toothpaste, in the 15th century, China is said to have introduced “chewing sticks” to freshen breath. These were made of fragrant leaves and tree twigs.
Early Chinese civilizations also engineered the first natural bristle toothbrush, made of pig’s hair from their neck fixed to bone or bamboo.
This invention made its way across continents to Europe, where the pig-bristle brush was adapted to a horse-hair brush, and for children, feather brushes.
The Evolution of the Toothbrush
Pig-bristle and cattle bone brushes were widely popular in England, and ingenuity took hold in 1844 with the design of the first three-row bristle brush.
Still, bristles made from animal hair became the norm. At this point, toothpaste typically contained soap, chalk, and even charcoal.
Chalk-filled toothpaste doesn’t sound that appealing. Nowadays we have toothpaste that’s chalk-free and effectively prevents cavities. To find the best toothpaste for your smile, it’s recommended to speak with your local expert dentist, like Dr. Jonelle Stovall in Goldsboro, NC who recommends a fluoride paste that will protect your enamel.
It wasn’t until 1938 with the invention of nylon and their integration with toothbrushes in the 1950’s that the synthetic toothbrush we know and love today came into existence.
The ancient Egyptians and Babylonian’s classic design still holds true — a stick with bristles at the end — and now, billions of people all over the world regularly use this timeless invention.
Knowing the history of dental health can make your everyday routine that much more interesting.
Dentists have been around since 2600 B.C., since Hesy-Re in ancient Egypt proclaimed himself a dental practitioner. Technology has come so far, and now we have dentists like Dr. Ted Herrmann in Miami, FL know what’s best to keep our health up to the highest standards.