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Humans have been brushing their teeth for thousands of years. Before dentistry science even existed, we naturally understood the virtues of keeping our teeth clean and bright. The following contains a brief timeline on the evolution of the toothbrush:

3500-3000 BC: Babylonians and Egyptians clean their teeth with the frayed ends of twigs.

1600 BC: The Chinese invent the first natural bristle toothbrush, made from pig hair and bone or bamboo.

1780 AD: Though toothbrushes existed in Europe before now, they weren’t well-known until William Addis invents his version of the toothbrush.

1844: The first three-row bristle brush is designed.

1847: The first U.S. patent for a toothbrush is filed by H.N. Wadsworth.

1935: Wallace Carothers and his team invent a super-polymer that will eventually be called nylon.

1938: Nylon toothbrushes are created.

1939: The first electric toothbrush is made.

1950: Softer brushes are created.

Today: Toothbrushes come in many shapes and sizes, both manual and electronic. They are typically made from plastic with molded grips with soft nylon bristles for brushes.

Your toothbrush is one of the most important inventions in history. In fact, in a 2003 Lemelson-MIT survey, participants ranked a list of inventions in order of what they couldn’t live without. Among items like computers, cell phones and microwaves, the toothbrush was selected as the number one item. So next time you reach for your toothbrush, think back on its evolution and let yourself feel wonder and gratitude for this magnificent instrument of oral health.

If you would like to improve your oral health, simply call 860-442-3323 to reach Paul Hanna, DMD PC in New London, Connecticut. Dr. Paul Hanna and our excellent team will offer you a state-of-the-art dental exam and cleaning. We’re here to make you smile.