history of toothbrush

Cottonwood Park Dental is fascinated by the history of dentistry. First, it speaks to the ingenuity of our species as we follow along the invention of, say, the car, or the computer and cell phone and wonder how anyone can even conceive of such things when they didn’t exist before. One thing is for sure as we take a look at the history of common dental items: dentistry has come a long way, and it continues to grow and innovate in leaps and bounds.

Cottonwood Park Dental in is the best dental office in the Richardson area, focusing on family dentistry. We stay on the cutting edge of dentistry practices, technology, and equipment. When you visit our office, you will immediately be enveloped in our warm and open atmosphere, and we hope that you’ll feel at home with us. Our friendly staff can answer any questions you may have on any topic, such as billing or on when to make your next dental appointment. We want to make your dental experience as stress free as possible. In this blog post, we’ll go over the history of the toothbrush. Continue reading, and then call us today for your next dental cleaning!


A toothbrush is what the name says: a brush for your teeth, gums, and tongue. It has bristles made out of various fibers on one end and a handle on the other. The bristles can be hard or soft and today are made out of nylon typically or bamboo.


As ingenious as humans are, they often use whatever is available and improvise what they need, which has led to the invention of countless items we love and use every day. However, the first toothbrush was most likely your finger. After all, you can just rub your teeth and pick out food as well. Archaeologists know that early people would rub salt, chalk, and soot onto to their teeth as well to help clean them, using their finger or a rag.

Ancient Babylonians as early as 3500 BC used “chew sticks,” or literally sticks with frayed ends to clean their teeth. Bird feathers, animal bones, and porcupine quills were also in use by early civilizations. In early India, there is a recording of monks using pieces of ox bone with horsetail bristles. However, it was the Chinese who first invented a bristled toothbrush in 1498 when they used the stiff hairs from a hog and attached them to fashioned handles made from bone or bamboo. These were brought from China to Europe where the idea spread.


Surprisingly, it’s the English who took this idea mainstream when a man named William Addis who was in jail for rioting at the time of his idea, took this boar-bristled brush and started making them and selling them. This is Wisdom Toothbrushes, which is still in business today, making toothbrushes for the masses. However, Europeans found boar bristles to be too harsh, so they started making toothbrushes with horsehair instead. Cottonwood Park Dental in Richardson notes that pig bristles were used as well and badger hair toothbrushes make an appearance as a higher-quality toothbrush.

It took America over 100 years to begin producing their own boar-haired toothbrushes. Finally, the DuPont company made a nylon bristled toothbrush in 1938, but it wasn’t until after World War II that brushing your teeth regularly began to go mainstream. This was because Americans were encouraged to brush their teeth regularly while overseas, and they did not abandon the habit when they returned.


Cottonwood Park Dental in Richardson notes that modern toothbrushes are mainly made of nylon fibers. Many are now electric, which was first invented by the Swiss in 1939. You have different shaped heads, ones that vibrate, and ones that tell you when two minutes are up. You can even find all-in-one toothbrushes with dental floss as well for the optimal dental experience.

Toothbrushes are often ranked by those asked if they could take one thing with them to a deserted island, what would it be. It was ranked in 2003 as the one invention American could not live without, surpassing the car, computer, cell phone, and microwave.


As mentioned above, a toothbrush is indispensable to most Americans. When you brush your teeth, you are ridding your mouth of food that can cause bacteria to harm your teeth, as well as germs that cause bad breath. You feel much cleaner overall when your mouth is clean.

Cottonwood Park Dental in Richardson offers you quality dental care that you need to maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. Your teeth are so important, from making a good impression to eating and chewing all your foods properly. You cannot afford to ignore them because you only have one set in life, so it’s best if you take good care of them.

Cottonwood Park Dental offers residents of Richardson and the surrounding communities preventative dentistry by offering dental exams and X-rays, by offering cosmetic dentistry services, such as teeth whitening, and by offering dental crowns when you need it. Our family dental clinic takes pride in helping you manage your oral health. Regular check-ups and dental exams are the best way to detect any tooth problems early on and a great way to stay on top of your oral health. We strive to be a compassionate, high-quality family dental practice you can count on. 

At Cottonwood Park Dental in Richardson, our dentists have years of experience helping patients keep their teeth healthy and clean. Our mission is to create and restore beautiful smiles for a lifetime. Whether you are getting married or you’re in retirement, you need good oral health. We take the time to explain to you what we’re doing and show you concrete steps you can take to improve your overall oral health. We take the time to do things right. Contact us today for your next dental exam!