Though a staple feature in your bathroom, chances are you rarely give your toothbrush a second thought. Apart from when the time comes to replace it, it’s probably the kind of thing that never enters your mind. That is, unless you happen to be using the best Bluetooth electric toothbrush on the market right now, which is as much of a toy to play with as it is a dental hygiene tool!
But considering how far the humble toothbrush has come over the years, you might want to rethink the respect you give your own brush, next time you reach for it. Incredibly, toothbrushes in one form or another have been around for more than 5000 years. Not that they were always so sophisticated – they were originally made using nothing more than leaves and twigs. Needless to say, a far cry from today’s professional electric toothbrushes.
But even the most primitive attempts at the creation of oral health tools paved the way for everything we know about the subject today. Which is why we personally think that everyone should know at least a few facts about the humble toothbrush.
Even if not particularly exciting, chances are you should find at least a few of the following 17 entries interesting:
- First of all, history suggests that the very first bristle toothbrushes were used by the Chinese somewhere in the region of 900 years BC. Which in turn means that while quality and design attributes may have changed over the years, we have technically been following the same toothbrush formula for three millennia.
- While bristle brushes were being used in Asia thousands of years earlier, it actually wasn’t until the 17th century that they first arrived in Europe. Suffice to say, we took a lot longer to discover the wonders of bristle toothbrushes than our neighbours in the east!
- As already touched upon, many ancient cultures all over the world relied on twigs to clean their teeth. They simply used to rough up the outer surfaces of the twigs, in order to improve their effectiveness in cleaning the teeth and gums. History suggests that this practice was going on well before 3000 BC.
- Back in the modern world, the vast majority of dentists suggest that toothbrushes should be kept a minimum of 200 centimetres from the nearest toilet. The reason being that various unpleasant microbes and bacteria – E. coli for example – can quite easily travel these kinds of distances, ultimately landing directly on the things you then go and put in your mouth!
- Believe it or not, it was only about 100 years ago that Siberian hog hair was still being used as the primary material for the production of bristle toothbrushes. It was only in 1948 that the first mass-produced toothbrush with soft bristles was developed and released by Oral-B.
- The popularity of horse bristle for the manufacturing of toothbrushes was such that China was exporting brushes made with such materials on an enormous scale right until the middle of the 20th century. This, despite the fact that nylon was already being used as a replacement material by 1938.
- Here’s a question – what are your thoughts on sharing one brush between multiple users? It’s the kind of thing that some people find hideously disgusting, while others do on a regular basis without giving it a second thought. Research suggests that approximately 25% of people periodically share their toothbrush with their partner, 18% of parents share their brushes with their children and 7% are happy to share them with their friends. Interestingly, six per cent also said they would be happy to share their toothbrush with a celebrity!
- Hard to believe as it may be, approximately 10% of adults forget to brush their teeth on a regular basis. This, despite the fact that overall education as to the importance of daily brushing has never been more widespread or advanced.
- When a survey was carried out in 2003, the United States of America have voted the toothbrush the single most important invention they would not be able to live without.
- Contrary to popular belief, the electric toothbrush is not what you could call a recent innovation. In fact, the world’s first electric toothbrush was produced all the way back in 1954 in Switzerland. That said, it was relatively primitive and perhaps not quite as safe as you’d hope.
- Prior to the introduction of synthetic materials, pig hair was used to manufacture cheaper toothbrushes, while more expensive brushes were made using the hair of badgers.
- These days, you can literally spend as little or as much as you want on a toothbrush. While the cheapest manual brushes are available from as little as 20p each, there’s always the option of spending thousands of pounds on titanium electric brushes, not to mention the odd gold-plated device here and there.
- It’s estimated that at least 80% of all adults do not appropriately wash and store their toothbrushes after use. Each time a toothbrush is used, it should be thoroughly washed under running water, as much excess water as possible should be removed and the brush should be positioned upright and allowed to dry completely.
- Because of this, the vast majority of dentists strongly advise against using the kinds of caps many people mistakenly think are actually hygienic. Anything that prevents or slows down the drying process can actually increase the growth and spread of harmful bacteria.
- Interestingly, cleaning your teeth with a toothbrush every day was not considered the norm in the United States until after the Second World War. Instead, soldiers in the U.S. Army were required to brush their teeth morning and night, ultimately bringing the habit back with them which eventually caught on and became the new everyday standard.
- It’s probably best not to think too much about it if you have a busy lifestyle, but the average person spends just under 39 days of their lifetime using a toothbrush. However, if they followed official dental guidelines, it would actually be closer to 122 days!
- Last but not least, even if you don’t particularly enjoy brushing your teeth, it’s worth remembering that using your toothbrush actually burns calories. Not a huge amount, but technically speaking more than enough to help you lose a full 1kg over the course of a year!