Historical Facts About the Humble Toothbrush

Historical Facts About the Humble Toothbrush

The best dentist in Palm Beach County encourages you to use it at least twice daily to keep your pearly whites healthy and cavity-free. While you know that your toothbrush plays a significant role in oral health, have you ever wondered about its history? We’ve compiled several historical facts about this humble tool. 

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Historical Facts You Should Know About Your Toothbrush 

The First Toothbrush Was a Stick 

Research shows that the first toothbrush used in Babylon, Egypt, and China was made of thin, frayed twigs. People used to twist and rub these “chew sticks” against their teeth to remove plaque and food particles from between them. Moreover, they used fragrant wood to ensure fresh breath.  

The First Toothbrush Bristles Were Made in China 

Around the 15th century, the Chinese folk decided to upgrade the traditional chew sticks by adding pig or boar hair as bristles. Thanks to their extra scouring effect, the bristles on the bamboo sticks were a huge hit. However, it wasn’t until the 17th century that boar bristle toothbrushes became incredibly popular in Europe.  

Over time, upper-class Europeans created alternatives to boar bristles, such as horsehair and custom badger hair. Instead of using wood sticks for brush models, they used toothbrushes made from ivory or bone.  

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A Prisoner Created the First Mass-Produced Toothbrush Prototype 

In 1770, an Englishman named William Addis was incarcerated for starting a riot. While in prison, Addis and the other prisoners cleaned their teeth with rags covered in salt or soot. He came up with a better solution by drilling holes into animal bones, stuffing bristles into the holes, and gluing them in place.  

After serving his prison sentence, Addis enhanced his toothbrush prototype and became the first commercial toothbrush manufacturer and seller. Records show that his sales reached over 1.8 million per year by 1927. 

The Three-Row Bristled Toothbrush Entered the Scene in 1844 

Although consumers had no complaints about toothbrushes made with single rows of bristles, manufacturers decided to produce toothbrushes that cover more surface area by replacing the typical toothbrush design with three rows of bristles. By 1844, everyone was using the new and improved commercial toothbrush. 

Artificial Bristles Replaced Natural Ones in 1938 

Over time, manufacturers discovered that artificial bristles were more comfortable and effective than traditional natural bristles. As a result, nylon bristles hit the scene in 1938. However, it wasn’t until WWII that U.S. soldiers popularized this new product when the military required them to carry and use nylon-bristled toothbrushes regularly. Although Americans back home were already brushing their teeth, the concept of toothbrushing with nylon bristles became a norm when WWII soldiers introduced this idea to the general public in the 1940s.   

An English Doctor Introduced the First “Electric” Toothbrush in 1880 

Dr. Scott, an Englishman, manufactured and sold the first “electric” toothbrush in 1880. Although he preferred to call them electric in all advertising, these devices weren’t really electric. Since these toothbrushes contained slightly magnetized iron rods in their handles, they didn’t require electricity.  

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Do You Need to See the Best Dentist in Palm Beach County? 

Smiles in the Gardens is committed to providing our patients with personalized care and a world-class dental experience. Our talented team is trained and experienced with many of the most advanced and effective procedures. Moreover, our dentists are members of several accredited dental organizations dedicated to helping you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile. Contact us today to make an appointment. 

Best Practices to Improve Your Oral Hygiene Routine

A trusted Palm Beach Gardens dentist would tell you that achieving a healthy smile takes a lifetime of care. Even if you have nice teeth, taking the proper steps to care for them can keep your mouth clean and disease free. Establishing and maintaining a good oral hygiene routine helps you stop oral health issues such as cavities, bad breath, gum disease, and tooth loss. 

Additionally, research suggests that oral health is linked to whole body health. Bacteria from an infection in your mouth can enter the bloodstream and reach other areas of your body, resulting in other health issues such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. To help you achieve long-lasting overall health, we’ve compiled these oral hygiene tips to ensure a more thorough clean. 

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Oral Hygiene Tips for a More Thorough Clean 

Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush 

Dental professionals recommend changing your toothbrush every two to three months or as soon as you notice the bristles are frayed. If you’re using a hard-bristled toothbrush, you’ll want to replace it with soft bristles. Although medium- and hard-bristled toothbrushes may seem effective at cleaning your teeth, they can be abrasive and damaging to your tooth enamel over time.  

Tilt the brush at a 45-degree angle against your gum line and brush in short, circular motions. Since brushing too vigorously can hurt your teeth and gums, it’s best to use a gentle amount of pressure as you clean your teeth. 

Use a Fluoride Toothpaste 

No matter which toothpaste version you choose, use one that contains fluoride. This substance remains a mainstay in oral health because it protects teeth against decay. Besides providing a protective barrier for your teeth, fluoride eliminates germs that lead to decay and cavities. 

Brush Twice a Day 

Since brushing too often can cause damage to your gums and tooth enamel, experts confirm that brushing twice a day is enough. They also recommend rinsing your mouth with plain water after every meal and snack. While at it, be sure to do some vigorous swishing so you can force the liquid between your teeth and dislodge any food debris. 

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Start Brushing in the Back 

Your molars are more susceptible to gum disease and cavities because of their nooks and crannies. For this reason, you’ll want to give your back teeth the attention they deserve by beginning your brushing routine in the rear. Start brushing the upper side in the back so you won’t miss any spots. 

Floss Once Daily 

Since brushing alone won’t allow you to clean the spaces between your teeth, it’s best to floss once daily. Besides getting little pieces of food off your teeth, flossing reduces plaque, stimulates your gums, and minimizes gum inflammation. If you have dexterity issues, you may use dental picks and interproximal brushes to clean hard-to-reach areas. However, it’s worth noting that while water flossers can remove large pieces of debris, they can’t eliminate the biofilm from teeth surfaces.   

Clean Your Tongue 

Your tongue is like a sponge that holds bacteria. For this reason, it’s best to brush your tongue whenever you brush your teeth gently. You can also use a tongue scraper to ensure thorough cleaning. 

Rinse with Antibacterial Mouthwash 

Besides washing away the remaining traces of food and debris, rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash after brushing and flossing removes plaque and keeps harmful bacteria at bay. Moreover, use an alcohol-free formula to prevent xerostomia or dry mouth. 

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Looking for a Palm Beach Gardens Dentist? 

At Smiles in the Gardens, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile. Contact us today to make an appointment. 

What Are the Benefits of Regular Dental Cleanings?

While daily brushing and flossing top the list of ways people can take care of their teeth, regular professional dental cleanings can also significantly impact their overall health and well-being. Those who understand the importance of regular dental visits search for “the best dental hygienist near me.” 

Moreover, professional dental cleaning involves three steps: scaling, polishing, and flossing. Scaling refers to the careful removal of a sticky film of bacteria called plaque from the tooth’s surface below the gum line. The dental hygienist may use handheld instruments such as a dental scaler and curette to scrape plaque off the tooth.  

They may also use an ultrasonic instrument that features a vibrating metal tip that comes with a cool water spray to scale teeth. As the water flushes out the gum pockets, the metal tip chips tartar away. 

Next, they’ll use a high-powered brush and a gritty paste to eliminate any remaining surface stains. As the last step, they’ll floss the patient’s teeth to remove traces of plaque that could be lurking between teeth.   

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Benefits of Regular Dental Cleanings 

It Helps Remove Built-Up Stains 

Certain foods and beverages can leave stains on teeth. When these stains build up over time, they’ll produce a dull-looking smile that won’t help you make the impression you hope for. Thankfully, professional dental cleaning can eliminate these built-up stains, give you perfectly polished teeth, and brighten your smile. 

It Promotes Early Detection of Oral Health Issues 

During a dental cleaning appointment, the dental hygienist uses a small mirror to check the inside of the mouth. They’ll pass the information on to the dentist if they catch mild oral health issues. However, if they notice a serious problem, they may pause the cleaning and consult with the dentist on how to proceed. 

If you’re looking to avoid needing a root canal, tooth extraction, or gum surgery, it’s best to schedule professional dental cleanings every six months. Maintaining bi-annual dentist visits allows them to screen you for other oral health concerns such as tooth decay, cavities, broken fillings, gum disease, and oral cancer

It Reduces the Risk of Gum Disease 

Did you know that 75% of American adults have gum disease? Gum disease eventually leads to tooth loss and other severe conditions without prompt diagnosis and treatment. Scheduling regular check-ups with your dentist and dental cleanings with your dental hygienist can significantly reduce the risk of gum disease and help keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

It Prevents Chronic Bad Breath 

Halitosis, or chronic bad breath, is a sign of an underlying dental problem. While people who brush, floss, and use mouthwash regularly can generally have good breath, food debris and bacteria can build up in your mouth’s hard-to-reach areas. Unless you get your teeth and gums professionally cleaned, this buildup will lead to chronic bad breath that no amount of mouthwash and mints can cover up. 

It Helps Lowers the Risk of Serious Medical Conditions 

Several studies suggest that chronic inflammation due to gum disease contributes to the hardening of the arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke. Since regular professional dental cleanings help prevent gum disease, significantly lowering your risk of severe medical conditions. 

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Looking for the Best Dental Hygienist Near Me? 

Smiles in the Gardens is committed to providing our patients with high-quality dentistry using cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art equipment. Contact us today to experience personalized care in a safe and comfortable environment.