A Stroll Through Time and Toothbrushes in Gainsville

a toothbrushDental implants Gainesville, FL doctor dentist Dr. Altschuler and his entire staff at Altschuler Periodontic & Implant Center are excited to take you on a trip through time with one of the most pivotal tools used in caring for dental implants and preventing tooth decay. Those of our patients who are financing their own dental implants will be especially interested in this trek through time, as this tool help prevent them from needing any more dental implants in the future. It’s your toothbrush!

One of the most common concerns our staff members are approached with is dental implant patients looking for advice on how to care for their new smiles after the process of implantation has been completed. There are actually many ways to care for dental implants, but one of the first knee-jerk responses that always comes to our staff member’s mind is advising patients to invest in a good toothbrush. However, this knee-jerk response is what brought us here today.

Not very long ago, one of our patients asked where exactly toothbrushes came from. The staff member who was assisting the woman who had asked the question was taken aback because she had no clue, and, therefore, couldn’t answer the patient’s question. It was not long before that very same question was running rampant through our office in an attempt to see if anyone really knew just where and when the toothbrush actually came from. There were some good educated guesses, some laughs, and no certain answers.

Seeing that Altschuler Periodontic & Dental Implant Center is a dental practice filled with dental professionals, we all felt this embarrassing lack in information about our own field must be mitigated, and fast! So we hit the books, found the answers and brought them back here for you to enjoy as well.

Turns out there are various theories on the origin of the toothbrush, and exactly how far back these little dental devices actually reach in history depend on how specific your definition of ‘toothbrush’ is. What we mean by this is that archeologists have uncovered evidence that suggests ancient civilizations, thousands of years ago, were using the frayed ends of twigs to scrub at their teeth.

However, twigs are not what we were looking for. We wanted to know where the first device that was constructed for the sole purpose of toothbrushin’ came from. And that place is ancient China about 800 years ago. People in ancient China began carving handles out of bamboo and bone and then attaching coarse hairs collected from the necks of boars at their ends. As to how effective these primitive toothbrushes were, or how durable they were, we cannot say. Either way, kudos to ancient China for being innovators in terms of dental health.

A few hundred years later, in 18th century England, something happened that would toss toothbrushes into the mainstream. Funny enough it happened in a dank prison cell where a man by the name of William Addis was sitting after being put there for causing a ruckus and inciting a public riot. Addis’ breath must have taken a turn for the truly atrocious because while he was sitting in hiatus, he decided to grab a piece of bone and start carving. He ended up drilling holes into the end of his bone handle, threading hog hairs through those hairs and securing them there with wire. As to where Addis got all these tools while sitting in a prison cell is beyond us, but were thankful nonetheless. When Addis was release from captivity, he took his invention with him. That prison toothbrush because the first widely distributed toothbrush in history and Addis died a wealthy man.

A few more years later, in 1993 to be exact, an English company by the name of DuPont crafted the first set of nylon toothbrush bristles. Up until this point, animals hairs had been the standard resource for toothbrush bristles. However, these nylon bristles were much more durable than animal hairs. They soon took the place of animal hair bristles, and those very same nylon bristles grace the end of the toothbrush you used this morning.

And viola! There is it. A very short history lesson on the origins of the toothbrush. We hope you enjoys the stroll through time with us.

Until next time readers, keep brushing and keep smiling.