Who Invented the Toothbrush?

Who Invented the Toothbrush?

It is said that the greatest of inventions are those that are brimming with simplicity but still prove to be tools full of utility. If this is really the case, then the humble toothbrush can be regarded as one of the greatest inventions of all time, with its minimum complexity (or outright lack of it) and its indispensability in our modern way of life.

The toothbrush has become one of the most essential tools of our modern, civilized, way of living. So much importance is given to oral hygiene today that most people are not aware that there was a time when the toothbrush was still just a figment in the imagination of the man who invented it. Before the toothbrush was invented, people around the world used different methods maintaining proper oral hygiene. Plant stalks, twigs from trees, feathers and quills from different animals are just examples of what can be regarded as the prototypes of the toothbrush.

Civilizations such as those from India and Arabia primarily used plant parts to clean their teeth. The ancient book Ayurveda instructed its readers to utilize some parts of one tree indigenous to India to take care of their teeth. Likewise, Muslims also used the twigs of a native tree that has inherent antiseptic properties to fight tooth decay and cavities.

Immediately before the toothbrush was invented, most people took care of their oral hygiene by using a cloth to wipe their teeth. The cloth is commonly used in tandem with soot and salt so as to add some antibacterial properties to the process.

It is during this time when the modern toothbrush was invented due to one man’s discontent with the way people’s teeth are taken care. So who invented the toothbrush? The one who can be given credit as the man who invented the toothbrush – the modern toothbrush since there were prototypes of it – is an Englishman by the name of William Addis.

Sometime in the latter half of the eighteenth century, the man who invented the toothbrush was sentenced to jail for causing civil disturbance. During his time in the correctional, he came to the realization that oral care in his time has much room for improvement. He then took action based on this realization by getting an elongated animal bone, drilling holes on one end of it then passed on those holes a bunch of bristles tied together on one end. He then glued the tied end of the bristles on the bone. Thus the modern toothbrush was born. The creation of the man who invented the toothbrush proved to be very effective that he went to his grave very rich.

With the way we highly regard the importance of oral hygiene today, the man who invented the toothbrush deserves not only the credit for inventing the toothbrush, but also for making oral care a daily part of our modern way of living.

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3 Responses to “Who Invented the Toothbrush?”

  1. wesley says:

    there are some major facts missing from this article. According to the ADA the first bristled toothbrush was invented in China (by an emperor) in 1498. It consisted of swine hairs on bamboo or polished animal bone. Then in the 1930’s DuPont advanced the toothbrush by introducing the nylon bristle. William Addis was the first to mass produce the toothbrush but H.N. Wadsworth was the first to patent the toothbrush. So the answer to the question on who first invented the toothbrush should be either the chinese emperor or officially Wadsworth since he is the first to patent the toothbrush.

  2. Marco says:

    Wadsworth filed for his patent a long time after Addis came up with his design. You might want to check your dates before trying to give Wadsworth the glory. Anyway, how did he manage to get a patent that was already mass-produced? I thought patents could only be granted for product that are essentially new.

  3. Marco says:

    Correction: Wadsworth filed for his patent a long time after Addis came up with his design. You might want to check your dates before trying to give Wadsworth the glory. Anyway, how did he manage to get a patent for a product that was already mass-produced? I thought patents could only be granted for products that are essentially new.

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