Evolution of Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene is nothing new. Ancient civilizations rubbed their teeth with the frayed ends of twigs, and before dental floss, there was the toothpick. And we know that the people of ancient China and India were using a paste to clean their teeth in 500 B.C.

Soap was added to toothpaste in 1824 and chalk was added in the 1850’s. Colgate Dental Cream, the first toothpaste in a jar, was introduced in 1873, although the first collapsible tube was not introduced until 1986.

Advancements in synthetic detergents made after World War II allowed for the replacement of the soap used in toothpaste with emulsifying agents such as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium ricinoleate. In the 1950’s, fluoride was added.

Dental floss and toothpick groves have been found in the tooth of prehistoric humans, although it was New Orleans dentist, Levi Spear Parmly, who promoted teeth flossing using a piece of silk thread in 1815. Unwaxed floss appeared in the United States in 1882 and the first patent on dental floss was granted in 1898 to the Johnson and Johnson Company.

The toothbrush as we know it was invented in the late 1400’s in China. The bristles were actually the coarse hairs taken from the back of a hog’s neck, attached to handles made of bamboo or bone. Boar bristles were in toothbrushes until 1930 when DuPont de Nemours introduced the nylon toothbrush to the world. The first mass produced toothbrush was made in England in the 1780’s. The first patent for a toothbrush was granted to H. N. Wadsworth in the late 1880’s. Celluloid handles were used as a substitute for bone handles. Then in the 1920’s, a new method of attaching bristles to the handle by drilling holes into the brush head and attaching them with a staple.

Although the Swiss introduced the first electric toothbrush in 1939, its development was delayed because of World War II. Squibb marketed the first one in 1960 but General Electric went one better by making one cordless and battery powered.

We welcome you, your family, friends, and coworkers to experience state-of-the-art dentistry, excellent clinical care, and superb customer service. Call our Creve Coeur dental office at (314)567-3555 if you have any other questions or would like to schedule an appointment. Our Creve Coeur dental office is conveniently located near Chesterfield, Maryland Heights, Ladue, Clayton, Ballwin, Town and Country, Manchester, and Olivette for patients throughout the St. Louis area. We welcome the opportunity to give your smile life!

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