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Do you ever wonder who invented the toothbrush? Well, maybe you don’t wonder about that on a daily basis, but the history of the invention and evolution of our most common dental hygiene tools is actually very interesting.


Toothbrushes used to be a twig that you chewed on. During the middle ages, people improved upon this design by creating toothbrushes made with hog hair bristles. In 1780, William Addis sold toothbrushes in England similar in appearance to those we have today. These were the norm until the invention of nylon resulted in the creation of synthetic-bristle toothbrushes in 1938.


From the time of the ancient Egyptians to the 1800’s, toothpastes were powders created from abrasive materials. Ancient societies used a variety of substances for these powders, including ashes, eggshells, bone, and charcoal. By the 1880’s, tooth powders and liquids were generally made and sold by dentists until tube toothpaste came into being and was mass-produced for the public. Dental hygiene became more common, especially when fluoride toothpaste started being used in 1950.


Before the creation of floss, people just used a toothpick to clean between their teeth. In fact, China once decreed a law requiring people to use toothpicks because many members of their army had bad breath. We didn’t see floss until 1815, when dentist Levi Spear Parmly began telling his patients to clean between their teeth with silk thread. The nylon floss we use today was created by Charles C. Bass during World War II.