Ever wonder when we were first introduced to the toothbrush? Go back to 3000 BC! Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick,” a thin twig with a frayed end. People would rub them against their teeth to freshen up.
The Chinese invented the bristle toothbrush – similar to what we use today – in 1498, according to the U.S. Library of Congress. The Chinese took the hairs from the back of a hog’s neck and attached them to handles made of bone or bamboo.
If the thought of putting hog hairs in your mouth makes you slightly queasy, take a moment to thank DuPont de Nemours, the company that invented the first modern toothbrush with nylon bristles in 1938. They called it Dr. West’s Miracle-Tuft Toothbrush.
DuPont de Nemours used World War II in their marketing campaign, encouraging Americans to support the war effort by brushing their teeth. Unbelievably, most Americans didn’t brush their teeth regularly until World War II servicemen returned home and shared teeth-brushing habits they picked up in Europe.
The first real electric toothbrush was developed and produced in Switzerland in 1939. In 1960, Squibb marketed the first American electrical toothbrush in the United States called the Broxodent. General Electric introduced a rechargeable cordless toothbrush in 1961. In 1987, Interplak created the first rotary action electrical toothbrush for home use.
So be thankful for the modern toothbrush – and that it’s not made from hog hair!