My five year old lost his first tooth last night and it got me to thinking about the history of tooth care throughout the ages. So today I did some research. Here’s what I found out: the history of dental hygiene is DISGUSTING! lol
Modern society didn’t always have toothbrushes (obviously). I think it’s interesting that ancient Romans could build incredible buildings like the Coliseum and roads that stretched for thousands of miles, withstanding the beating of millions of soldiers marching on them…..but a simple toothbrush evaded them.
Sometimes a powder was made of the ashes of ox hooves and burned eggshells. The ancient Greeks and Romans used materials such as crushed oyster shells and bones. MMMMMM, that sounds TASTY!
The Chinese are believed to have made the first natural-bristle toothbrush in the 1400s by using bristles from pigs’ necks. The bristles were attached to a handle made of bone or bamboo. Who was this first nutbag that looked at a pig’s dirty neck and said, “Hmmmm…I could stick that in my mouth and brush my teeth with it!”
The first toothbrush that resembles the one you use today was made in England in the 1770s. A man named William Addis came up with the idea while he was in prison, put there for having started a riot. He didn’t think the rag he was given was cleaning his teeth well enough, so he saved a small bone from a meal. He put tiny holes in it and used glue to attach pig bristles he had gotten from a prison guard.
And it wasn’t until after World War II that Americans started brushing their teeth regularly. U.S. soldiers brought the daily habit back home with them from abroad, and that helped make the practice popular. So……for the first 150 years or so most Americans didn’t brush? Can you say “gum disease”? Ugh!