The history of the toothbrush: who invented, when did it appear, the origin

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Modern Toothbrush went through many improvements before it acquired its properties. Each stage in the development of civilization contributed to its creation. The high-tech age continues to refine this tool to perfection.

The history of the toothbrush is fascinating and helps to appreciate the technological progress that has made oral hygiene more simple and efficient.


  • Borrowing from the first people
  • Predecessors
  • First samples: who invented the modern model
  • Electrification
  • Improvements

Borrowing from the first people

To tell the story of toothbrushes to children, you can show them a short but interesting cartoon:

Primitive people used to clean a bunch of grass by rubbing their teeth. This is evidenced by the archaeological examination of the teeth of an ancient man: elongated curved marks were found on the preserved enamel - the result of exposure to the first means of oral hygiene.

Later, they began to use double-sided sticks made of wood. One end is sharp - an analogue of a modern toothpick, the other, broken into fibers, was supposed to be chewed. Trees rich in essential oils were used as they have disinfectant properties.

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You can learn about ancient toothpicks from our material.

Features of ancient traditions in brushing teeth among different nations:

  1. In Africa, sticks made from El Salvador wood are still popular, and the indigenous people of America make them from white elm.
  2. In the East, similar instruments were called "misvak", and the wood for their manufacture - "arak" - aka Salvador Persian.
  3. According to legend, the tradition of brushing your teeth was introduced by the Prophet Muhammad, therefore, in the Islamic world, brushing your teeth was considered a sacred duty.
  4. The ancient Buddhists also deified brushing their teeth - Buddha used a stick given by one of the gods to brush his teeth.
  5. In the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs, 5,000-year-old wooden sticks were found.
  6. Ancient Indian medicine prescribed to chew the twigs of the neem or banyan tree;
  7. In Rome, brushing teeth was considered an irreverent occupation, so the teeth of patricians were brushed by slaves.

Since ancient times, such devices were in use in Russia, they were made from oak twigs. Healing properties oak bark are widely used to treat diseases of the oral cavity. Resin chewing gum, in addition to mechanical cleaning of the teeth, had a beneficial effect on the gums.

In ancient times, teeth were treated, too, I wonder what you can learn from our article.


The first mention of the similarity of a toothbrush is recorded in the "Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma" by Eihei Dogen, a master of Japanese Zen, dated 1223 AD. He writes that Buddhist monks made brushes from buffalo bone and horsehair. The mass use of such models spread to China in 1498, they consisted of bamboo handles and tufts of natural bristles at the end, like a brush. Hair for making was taken hard - Siberian boar bristles, badger hair.

Among the European nobility, healthy white teeth at that time were bad manners, they were deliberately cut down at the root, toothbrushes came into use slowly.

In the middle of the 17th century, the book The Dentist Surgeon or Treatise on Teeth by the French dentist Pierre Fauchard accelerated the spread of brushes in Europe. He refuted the theory of "tooth worms" that allegedly provoke disease and strongly recommended brushing your teeth daily. But he considered the animal bristles unsuitable, suggesting to replace it with a natural sea sponge.

Under Ivan the Terrible, primitive brushes appeared in Russia, where they were given the name "tooth broom" due to their external resemblance. Therefore, in relation to when the toothbrush appeared in Russia, we can say that it was under Ivan the Terrible. However, those models had little resemblance to modern ones, from which they were called brooms. They were common among the Russian boyars; it became a sign of good form to have them with you and use them after meals. The peasants rubbed their teeth with ash and charcoal, and then thoroughly rinsed their mouths.

Under Peter I, a decree was issued to replace the use of dental brooms with cleaning with a cloth with crushed chalk, the method was borrowed in Europe, where ordinary people, in contrast to the nobility, paid great attention to the hygiene of the cavity mouth. In Russia, where the method was used at court, mint oil was added to the composition to improve the taste and freshen the breath.

First samples: who invented the modern model

The modern brush was invented by William Addis. In 1770, an Englishman was imprisoned for instigating a riot, where he made a modern model out of bone and bristle.

When he was released, he started mass production and became rich, after his death, the business was taken over by his son, and the company he created, Wisdom Toothbrushes, still produces products.

At the end of the 18th century, Louis Pasteur declared that dental diseases were caused by microbes. Soon after the invention of toothbrushes, it became apparent that natural bristles do not dry well and create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. The stiffness of the bristles was excessive, the enamel was damaged, attempts to replace the wool of the Siberian boar with horse hair did not eliminate the problem with microbes. Disinfecting the brushes by boiling quickly rendered them unusable.

The first artificial toothbrush was developed and marketed by Oral-B in 1938.

This is a breakthrough in oral hygiene, nylon dries quickly and is easy to clean. The level of development of technology has made it possible to make nylon fibers rounded at the ends - they did not damage the enamel. Then they began to cover the fibers with a special pigmented composition: when it is completely erased, it's time to buy a new one. There are models of different hardness, now soft bristles are intended for children, medium - for adults, and hard - for cleaning removable dentures.


Origin electrical models has its own history. George Scott filed a patent for the first electric toothbrush in the late 19th century. She sent out small electrical shocks. The inventor believed that the current is good for the teeth.

In 1939, a model appeared without this flaw, developed in Switzerland. Only in 1960 did the American company Broxodent become the first wholesale supplier of goods. Initially, these brushes were designed to help people with fine motor disabilities. But a year later, it was replaced by an analogue of General Electrics, it worked from a rechargeable battery and could be used by everyone.

In Russia, such innovations appeared relatively recently - in the middle of the last decade of the 20th century. For comparison, in the United States during these years, Dr. Robert Bock completed the development of ultrasonic instrument for oral hygiene. The pulses break the bacterial chains up to 5 mm deep in the gums.


From 1963 to 1998, about 3,000 brush models were patented. The following models were in demand:

  • two heads instead of one - you can brush your teeth from both sides at once and save time;
  • Combined with a tube of toothpaste, the invention targets travelers and saves space in luggage;
  • in order to better wash the bristles after use, they came up with brushes with holes in the heads;
  • electric and simple models with replaceable heads;
  • disposable brushes for guests;
  • the built-in timer is designed to control the duration of cleaning.

As you can see, what the toothbrush consists of depends on the specific model.

Japan became the leader in know-how - there the idea of ​​a micro-video camera appeared in order to see hard-to-reach places on the screen and clean more efficiently. Such a device is equipped with a USB port for connecting to a computer.

The site is for informational purposes only. Do not under any circumstances self-medicate. If you find you have any symptoms of illness, contact your doctor.

  • Oct 28, 2021
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