Where did toothbrushes and toothpaste come from?
The first toothbrushes were small sticks or twigs mashed at one end to create a broader cleaning surface. The Chinese lay claim to the first bristle toothbrush. Europe adopted the bristle brush in the 17th century, and many dentists practicing in colonial America advised their patients to use the brush. The first electric toothbrush was marketed in 1880, though the Swiss developed the first effective electric toothbrush just after World War II. It was introduced in the United States around 1960. A year later, the first cordless model was developed and proved to be popular with both consumers and dentists.
Toothpaste also saw its earliest form in ancient civilizations. Early toothpaste ingredients included powdered fruit, burnt or ground shells, talc, honey and dried flowers. Less agreeable ingredients included mice, rabbit heads, lizard livers and urine. Despite the decidedly non-minty flavor of early toothpaste, various recipes continued to appear throughout ancient history and well into the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, many of these toothpastes contained corrosive elements that dissolved tooth enamel.
Toothpaste as we know it emerged in the 1800s, with ingredients that included soap and chalk. In 1892, the first collapsible tube was marketed and reigned supreme until 1984, when the pump dispenser was introduced. In 1956, Proctor & Gamble introduced Crest brand toothpaste with fluoride.
To learn more about the history of dental advances click HERE.