Richmond Cosmetic Dentist Explains the History of the Toothbrush

June 22nd, 2012 by JillN123

Have you ever wondered where the toothbrush originated or have you wondered how people cleaned their teeth in Ancient times? Our team at Richmond Smile Center and Dr. Charles Martin conducted some research on the history of oral hygiene. Surprisingly, oral hygiene methods in history were more sophisticated than we thought.

Historical Oral Hygiene Trivia and Facts

  • The earliest oral hygiene apparatus was called a “chew stick.” Ancient Sumerians would chew on twigs to freshen up their breath and remove debris from food. Over time, the use of twigs evolved into a more sophisticated oral hygiene tool where one end of twig was frayed for brushing while the other end was sharpened to a point like the modern version of the toothpick.
  • In Ancient Egypt, a mixture of wine-based vinegar and ground stone was used to brush teeth.
  • In monastic communities in Southeast Asia, monks would attach the hair from horse or hogs to ox bone to clean their teeth.
  • The first toothbrush was mass produced in England in the 1700’s by a factory owner named William Addis.
  • Early modern versions of toothpaste were sold in powder form. When toothbrush bristles were moistened with water they were then mixed into the powder to form a paste.
  • In the United States, barbers often performed dental work. For example, it was not abnormal to visit a barber for a haircut and a tooth extraction.
  • Hydrogen peroxide has been used for over a century to whiten and clean teeth.

Modern Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry in Richmond

At Richmond Smile Center, we are proud to offer innovative technology and top-notch dental services to our patients. Dr. Charles Martin and our team provide residents of Richmond with cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry. From porcelain veneers to dental implants, we strive to help each patient achieve optimal oral health without compromising the esthetics of their smile.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Martin, contact our Richmond dentist office at (804) 417-7203.

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