Richmond Dentist Explores the History of Oral Hygiene Products

Sep 10th, 2012 | By | Category: General Dentistry, Oral Hygiene

Oral HygieneMost people’s morning ritual involves picking up a toothbrush, squeezing some toothpaste onto it, and brushing their teeth. Because these items are so simple and commonplace, you may rarely, if ever, wonder about the journey these items must have taken to become the household items they are today. To honor these indispensible oral hygiene tools, Richmond dentist Dr. Stefan Moiceanu explores the history of toothpaste and its mate, the toothbrush.

History of Toothpaste

As early as 500 BC, the inhabitants of China and India used early versions of toothpaste. Experts believe, however, that the Egyptians started using paste to clean their teeth around 5,000 BC, before toothbrushes were even invented. Primitive versions of toothpaste served much the same function as toothpaste today; to keep teeth clean and white, and to keep breath fresh. The ingredients, however, were vastly different than anything found on hygiene shelves today. For instance, ancient Greeks and Romans, who favored abrasiveness in their pastes, used crushed bones and oyster shells mixed with pumice. Modern toothpastes began to appear in the 1800’s. These toothpastes were actually powders, until the 1850’s, when Crème Dentifrice appeared as paste in a jar. Colgate mass-produced jarred toothpaste in 1873, and in the 1890’s they introduced the modern toothpaste tube.

History of the Toothbrush

The development of the toothbrush appears to have been quite a simple idea. Around 3500-3000 BC, Babylonians and Egyptians developed the first toothbrush by fraying the end of a twig. Chewing sticks made from aromatic tree twigs were used in China around 1600 BC to freshen breath. The Chinese are also credited with inventing the first natural-bristled toothbrush, composed of bamboo or bone handles with bristles from pigs’ necks attached to them. The Europeans adopted this design, but substituted pigs’ bristles with horsehair, and sometimes feathers. The first mass-produced toothbrush was developed by an English fellow by the name of William Addis. While in jail for starting a riot, Addis fashioned a toothbrush by drilling small holes into a bone and securing tied-together tufts of bristle into the holes. He mass-produced his design after his release, and passed away a very wealthy man.

Don’t let these inventions go to waste. To learn about optimizing your oral health routine, contact Dr. Moiceanu at our Richmond, CA dentist office by calling 510-758-7222. Located in Richmond, we proudly serve families from Berkeley, San Pablo, Pinole, Benicia, Vallejo, and the surrounding communities.

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