ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • History & Archaeology»
  • Major Inventions & Discoveries

Things you may not know about the toothbrush and toothpaste

Updated on November 7, 2014

Who invented the toothbrush?

Who? Turns out it’s not that simple. People have been cleaning their teeth for millennia, starting with the ancient Egyptians

Many scientists have said that the human mouth is like a zoo, where are crammed several hundred all kinds of different good and bad microorganisms, especially in the back of the tongue.

The organisms living by the leftover food particles in the mouth. They act on food, creating some kind of acid and odor. Acid corrosion of tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and even tooth loss. The smell of sulfur can cause mouth odors.

Toothbrush and toothpaste interact helps whiten teeth, clean and remove harmful microorganisms in the mouth. Since ancient times, mankind has been aware of the adverse effects of food still stuck in the teeth after every meal.

Early brushes

Trio Brushes
Trio Brushes | Source

For many years, after eating, people across the world wash their hands, wash their face and gargle with water to clean their teeth. With a full gulp of water, they use muscles in the cheeks to make waves, make water penetrate between the teeth to remove all leftover food. They would also used somethings else like salt and chalk, sometimes a powder was made of the ashes of ox hooves and burned eggshells and rug across their teeth to try to get rid of the grime. Using their index finger, rub it back and forth to scrub teeth. In many cases, they used a small cloth or washcloth to clean the teeth. The ancient Egyptians made a sort of brush by splitting the end of a twig. The ancient Greeks and Romans used materials such as crushed oyster shells and bones. And the ancient Chinese chewed on twigs with a special flavor to freshen their breath...etc...


China is regarded as the birthplace of the first toothbrush on earth, made with horsehair mounted on a small bamboo sticks or animal bones. It was around 1498.


William Addis

1780, a British citizen, William Addis sees that rub the teeth with salt soaked cloth is inconvenience. He tries to made brushes by punching small holes in a piece of animal bone and inserted into it many short stiff hairs of oxtail, then he cuts it short and used it to brush his teeth.

Until 1857, patented of the first toothbrush in the US was granted to Mr. HN Wadsworth.

In 1938 DuPont Co. used nylon fiber to make brushes alternative to animal hair. The reason is that animal hair increasingly scarce and because many people fear of its infection as well as unsanitary. However boar bristles are still preferred by many due to its rarity and nature.

Electric toothbrush

1939, Switzerland started producing toothbrush runs by electric.

In the United States, Broxodent electric toothbrush introduced by Squibb pharmaceutical company during the Congress 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Dental Association in 1960.

1961, General Electric launched wireless . More progress is Interplak rotating brushes are sold to the public in 1987. The electric toothbrush is very convenient for people who have difficulty applying hands, such as osteoarthritis, resulting in cerebral stroke.

Popular staple

In 2003, an opinion poll said toothbrush is considered a staple in the lives of people, more ordinary than cars, computers, mobile phones.

Today, toothbrushes are manufactured with many shapes, sizes, different colors, but the basics are still rolling with plastic brush with synthetic fibers. Plastic fibers can be hard, soft, head straight or slightly curved to be able to work in remote areas of the mouth.

Experts agree that any soft brush have the same effective if used correctly.

Many scientific studies have concluded that, using toothbrush reasonable in right method can prevent cavities, gum and jawbone. The third among causes of tooth loss in adults.


Regular daily brushing can only remove 70-80% of contaminants on the teeth, the rest you have to floss to clean.

Today, we use dental floss to replace the traditional use of toothpicks, a dangerous instrument because if you do not know how to use it can cause adverse effects to the gums. Floss sold by each roll or short fibers mounted on a small plastic frame. It has a large and small diameters depending on the needs of uses. Manufacturers sometimes marinated it with antibiotics, fluoride, aromatic substances.



According to archaeologists, the toothpaste has been used in India and China since 500 BC. They crushed animal bones, eggshells, oyster shells to scrub teeth. Then dentifrice produced from plants, coal with several aromatic substances.

Until 1824, a dentist named Peabody think of adding soap to toothpaste to foam. Today, soap is replaced by sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Sodium Ricinoleate.

1850, John Harris added limestone to toothpaste.

Toothpaste is contained in a porcelain vases, as paste, powder or packed into small pieces round or flat, and is wrapped in cellophane, looked very nice.

1892, Dr. Washington Sheffield of Connecticut, created a new and useful way that contains toothpaste in a tube.

By the 1960s, the Colgate company began to mixed fluoride into their toothpaste to maintain good dental enamel.

Each manufacturer has its own formula for their products, but in general are the active with main effects as follows:



Perhaps fluoride is more important because it integrated into tooth enamel, helps resist erosion effects of acidic substances in food as well as by the bacteria.

The compound is used to scrub (abrasives) stains and plaque, help clean and shiny teeth is calcium phosphate, calcium carbonate and silica. The concentration of these substances is not too much to avoid excessive wear of tooth enamel.

Sodium lauryl sulfate detergents toothpaste foam, keeping the toothpaste in the mouth and does not flow out of the brush. This substance can also cause mouth ulcers in some people that sensitive to chemicals.

Recently, lasers were tested to eliminate bacteria in the root of the tooth. Also, the research results of Dr. Ulrich Schoop, University of Vienna Dental, published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, on July 2007, said a special type of laser can destroy the bacteria called E. coli and E.faecalis. He suggested using a laser to disinfect and clean the teeth.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Lissa Clason profile image

      Lissa Clason 3 years ago from Fayetteville, North Carolina

      This was a really interesting hub. I didn't know that the toothbrush was that old, or that toothpaste used to have limestone in it. Lots of good information :)