Before dentistry was a profession, there were limited options for taking care of teeth. The toothbrush has been around since 3500 BC, but back then it was made with frayed twigs. Before then there were other methods that people used to clean their teeth with everything from feathers to horse hair!
Before The Toothbrush
Before the toothbrush was invented, the Chinese used chewing sticks. These were made from tree twigs that smelled nice and freshened the breath.
The First Toothbrushes
The Chinese then invented the first toothbrush made with bristles attached to bone or bamboo. Later in England, Willian Addis made a toothbrush that more closely resembles the modern design with a handle. Until the invention of nylon in 1938, bristles had to be made from natural materials.
History of Toothpaste
Egyptians actually used toothpaste at 5000BC before the toothbrush was invented! The Greeks and Romans also used it as well. Their toothpaste was made from ingredients like ox hooves, ashes, charcoal, burnt eggshells and pumice. Fluoride was introduced in 1914 to help prevent decay, and recently we have ingredients to prevent gum disease, plaque and bad breath.
The next time you hear someone complain about brushing their teeth, remind them that at least they don’t have to use burnt eggshells!