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Have you ever wondered when and where toothbrushes originated? Toothbrushes have an interesting history that goes back thousands of years. Dr. Leida P. Stine and our team are happy to share some toothbrush facts with you.

Around 3500 BC, the Egyptians and Babylonians used a twig with a frayed end to clean their teeth. These toothsticks have been found in Egyptian tombs beside their owners. In Ancient China (around 1600 BC), chewing sticks were made from sweet-smelling tree twigs to give the user fresh breath.

The Chinese are credited with inventing the first natural bristle toothbrush in the 15th century. Bristles from pigs’ necks were attached to a bamboo or bone handle. When the bristle toothbrush was brought to Europe, it was adapted to use horsehairs, as Europeans preferred this softer material. Some bristle toothbrushes in Europe used feathers.

Until Du Pont invented nylon, natural bristles from animal hair or feathers were the only way to make a bristled toothbrush. The first modern toothbrush with nylon bristles, which was called Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush, was invented in 1938. The first electric toothbrush was made in 1939, but the electric toothbrush didn’t make it to the United States until 1960.

Today, toothbrushes come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. They typically have plastic handles and nylon bristles. Handles can be angled, straight, curved, or contoured and may have grips or soft rubber areas. Toothbrush heads can be very small to accommodate children, or larger for adults. They can be rectangular, oval, oblong, or almost round. Toothbrush bristles typically range from very soft to soft, though harder bristles are also available.

Please contact Leida P. Stine, DDS, FAGD at 925.828.9993 for more information about the history of the toothbrush and to set up an appointment with our dentist in Dublin, California.