History of the Toothbrush

Although the nylon bristle toothbrush as we know it was not invented until 1938, earlier forms of the toothbrush have been in existence since 3000 BC. Ancient civilizations used a thin twig with a frayed end called a "chew stick." These twigs cleaned teeth with a rubbing action. The ancient Chinese form of bristle toothbrush dated back to 1498 and required stiff, coarse hairs taken from the back of a hog's neck that were then fastened to handles whittled out of bone or bamboo. Until 1938, when nylon bristles were introduced by Dupont de Nemours, Boar bristles were used for brushes. Americans were later greatly influenced by the ascetic hygiene habits of soldiers from World War II, consequently became more and more concerned with the practice of good oral hygiene, and went on to rapidly adopt the nylon toothbrush.