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325/365 – Toothbrush

The toothbrush is an oral hygiene instrument used to clean the teeth and gums that consists of a head of tightly clustered bristles mounted on a handle, which facilitates the cleansing of hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.

Toothpaste, which often contains fluoride, is commonly used in conjunction with a toothbrush to increase the effectiveness of toothbrushing. Toothbrushes are available with different bristle textures, sizes and forms.

Most dentists recommend using a toothbrush labelled “soft”, since hard bristled toothbrushes can damage tooth enamel and irritate the gums.

Toothbrushes have usually been made from synthetic fibers since they were developed, although animal bristles are still sometimes used.


A variety of oral hygiene measures have been used since before recorded history. This has been verified by various excavations done all over the world, in which chew sticks, tree twigs, bird feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered.

The earliest description of a toothbrush was made in a Chinese historical work, dated to approximately 1600 BC. It described a chewing stick, consisting of a twig and a frayed end. Various forms of toothbrush have been used.

Indian medicine (Ayurveda) used the twigs of the neem or banyan tree to make toothbrushes and other oral-hygiene-related products for millennia.

The end of a neem twig is chewed until it is soft and splayed, and it is then used to brush the teeth. In the Muslim world, the usage of miswak—a type of chewing stick consisting of the roots or twigs of the Arak tree (Salvadora persica), which have antiseptic properties—is common practice and dates to pre-Islamic times.

Muhammad popularized the use of miswak and some erroneously believe it’s his invention. Rubbing baking soda or chalk against the teeth has also been common practice in history.

During the 1900s, celluloid handles gradually replaced bone handles in toothbrushes. Natural animal bristles were also replaced by synthetic fibers, usually nylon, by DuPont in 1938.

The first nylon bristle toothbrush, made with nylon yarn, went on sale on February 24, 1938. The first electric toothbrush, the Broxodent, was invented in Switzerland in 1954. Today, nylon is widely used for the bristles and the handles are commonly made from thermoplastic materials.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toothbrush

Categories: General Knowledge
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