History of the Toothbrush

Can you imagine life without your toothbrush? No? Neither can your Roseburg dentist. Twice daily our toothbrushes meet our teeth to fend off cavities and gum disease (as per the National Dental Association’s recommendations). In respect for this wonderful and essential tool, let’s take a look back at what life was like before the invention of the modern toothbrush.

At Campbell Family Dentistry, we’re grateful for the modern dental technology that helps to keep our mouths healthy and our gums happy. We bow our heads to the history of dental hygiene, and to the people who have made our high standards of oral health attainable. Learn more about the history of the toothbrush before calling our Roseburg office.

What Did People Do Before the Toothbrush?

There’s evidence dating back over 5,000 years that suggest ancient cultures had methods for cleaning their teeth. Ancient Egyptians crafted crude forms of toothbrushes from twigs and leaves to clean their teeth. Similar evidence suggests that ancient Romans, Arabs, Greeks, and Indians also cleaned their teeth with different types of sticks. Perhaps the oldest method of dental hygiene is the Babylonian chew stick, dated as far back as 3500 BC.

While these methods wouldn’t have been as effective as the modern combination of toothbrush and toothpaste, it shows that people have always cared about dental hygiene. It’s hard to say though how often or how thoroughly these ancient groups cleaned their teeth, but nonetheless it’s fascinating to see such ancient forms of dental hygiene.

When was the Modern Toothbrush Invented?

Europeans in the 16th century didn’t clean their teeth regularly until they observed that, by cleaning their teeth routinely, certain communities in Africa and Asia maintained healthy teeth into old age.

But it wasn’t until 1780 that the modern toothbrush was invented, presumably by an English merchant named William Addis. Before that, Europeans cleaned their teeth with rags rolled in salt and soot. Aimless in jail, Addis was supposedly struck one day with inspiration and proceeded to drill bristle holes into a sheep’s tibia. Then he added boar hair as bristles. Thus resulting in the first modern toothbrush.

Have You Been Brushing?

Have you been brushing your teeth regularly? The National Dental Association recommends you brush twice daily for two minutes. Come and see Campbell Family Dentistry, your Roseburg dentist, for a consultation. Call us today at 541-672-4732. You can also contact us here.