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8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Toothbrushes

8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Toothbrushes

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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