Nugget of Knowledge: History of the toothbrush

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Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – When did we start brushing our teeth?

The toothbrush as we know it today didn’t come along until the 20th century.

But we’ve been caring for our teeth since at least 3,000 BC.

Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick,” a thin twig with a frayed end we rubbed against the teeth to clean them.

The Chinese invented the first bristle toothbrush, similar to the type we use today, in 1498 in China.

The bristles were the stiff, coarse hairs from the back of a hog’s neck attached to a bamboo handle.

The first nylon bristle toothbrush was called Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush in 1938.

Americans quickly adopted the nylon toothbrush.

The first mass-produced toothbrush was made by William Addis of Great Britain, around 1780.

The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth, in November of 1857.

Mass production of toothbrushes began in America around 1885.

We’ve had electric toothbrushes since 1960. The Squibb company called it Broxodent.

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