We have heard doctors ceaselessly telling us about the importance of brushing our teeth. And so we sincerely do that- twice a day (or more), we stick that little brush in and slather the toothpaste to every corner of the mouth.
Brushing our teeth has become second nature, but we might not have stopped to think about how essential a tool toothbrush has become in our lives in these modern times. It is one of the few things we can’t do without in our everyday life.
We rely upon the toothbrush heavily for our dental care. But, what do you really know about your toothbrush? Despite the fact that we use a toothbrush regularly, most of us probably don’t know a lot of things about our little tool that has helped us fight against various dental diseases ever since it was invented just over a couple of hundred years ago.
Below we have listed some interesting things about toothbrushes that you probably didn’t know.
1. Ancient people used to brush their teeth with twigs; the modern toothbrushes were made of boar hairs.
The history of brushing dates back to around 4000 BC, when the Hindus of India first used twigs frayed into fibers to brush their teeth. Around 3500 BC, the Babylonians and the Egyptians used tooth-sticks to brush their teeth, fraying the end of the sticks.
The Romans and the Greeks civilizations also cleaned their teeth with twigs and leaves. The Chinese, around 1600 BC, use to chew on aromatic tree twigs to clean their teeth and freshen their breath.
In the 15th century, the Chinese invented the first natural bristle toothbrush, with the boar hairs attached to a bone or a bamboo handle. Around 1780 in England, a man named William Addis invented the first toothbrush of a modern design in prison, with a bone and pigs hair for bristles. Addis made a fortune, after getting out of prison, mass producing his invention. Up until 1938, before the invention of nylon, toothbrushes were made out of animal hairs.
2. Toothbrushes were mass produced in the US a century after they were first mass produced in England.
England saw mass productions of toothbrush around the 1780s. It was only after a century that America started producing toothbrushes. Now Americans throw away an average of 25,000 tons of toothbrushes and spend over $850 million on toothbrushes per year.
These days only about 3.5 billion people use a toothbrush, but more than 4 billion people carry around a mobile device.
3. Electric brushes outperform manual brushes.
Toothbrushes have come a long way through the years–from swine bristle toothbrushes to the ultra-modern electric ones. The first electric toothbrush was produced by the Squibb Company in 1956 in Europe. And the first electric toothbrush in the US was Broxodent, appearing in 1960.
These days a wide range of electric brushes are available in the market, with the next level oral care offered in a broad range of prices. Dentists prefer electric toothbrushes to manual brushes since electric brushes provide more revolutions per minute, which effectively remove plaque and leftover food particles far better than the manual brushes.
Experiments have shown that the best electric toothbrushes available in the market remove 11% more plaque than manual brushes. Men simply can’t match machine as it seems.
4. Soft bristles are better than hard bristles.
While quick logic might say that hard bristles work better on your teeth, soft bristles work better for your delicate gums. Yeah, the gums need just as much protection as your teeth do. Well, what doesn’t need protection if you think about it?
Soft bristles perform just as well for the teeth while the hard bristles might cause damage to the gums. Receding gum lines are contributed to by hard brushes.
5. Toothbrushes need to be changed often.
It’s time to change the toothbrush once it shows signs of wear. The bristles wear out or get frayed and weak, which don’t clean the teeth and the gums as effectively as the new ones do. So, brushes need to be changed every 2-3 months or as soon as the bristles start to fall off or fray out, or after an illness.
The dentists suggest changing toothbrush every 3-4 weeks if you have gum diseases. Don’t be a cheapskate and hang on to your old toothbrush for years; that might cost you later with bad oral health.
6. Toothbrushes need to be stored away from the toilet; putting a cap on the toothbrush aids in bacteria growth.
It is suggested that toothbrushes should be kept at least 6 feet away from the toilet, just to make sure you aren’t spewing the germs from your toilet to your brush when you flush. So, flush with the lid down.
Wet bristles of the toothbrush are breeding grounds for billions of microbes. So putting a cap on a toothbrush is a bad idea since it favors the growth of microbes by providing a humid condition. Every so often, toothbrushes need to be disinfected by rinsing in antibacterial solutions. Also, brushes shouldn’t touch each other to avoid the spread of germs from one brush to another.
7. Bristles clean the tongue just as effectively as they do the teeth and the gum.
You probably don’t do it but bristles are just as effective at cleaning the tongue as they clean the teeth and the gums. So, you don’t really need any extra tools for your tongue.
8. The most popular toothbrush color is blue.
Chances are very high that the color of the toothbrush you use is blue since blue is the most popular color for toothbrushes, followed by red.
Featured photo credit: Gratisography via gratisography.com