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Old toothbrushes need to be replaced because they collect bacteria and aren’t as effective at brushing. But do you want to hear about some really old toothbrushes? Here is a short list of toothbrushes created through the ages.

5,000 B.C.

The ancient Egyptians invented toothpaste, so they must have invented a toothbrush as well, right? Actually, there is no evidence that they invented a toothbrush at this time period. So how did they use their toothpaste? It is believed that they improvised and used their fingers to brush their teeth.

3,500 B.C.

In ancient Babylonia, the first toothbrush was invented. Sort of. This toothbrush was called a chewing stick, and that’s just what you did with it. Chewing on the frayed end of a twig was how they cleaned their teeth.


At this time period, bristles started to be used to clean teeth. The Chinese made this type of toothbrush by fastening hog hair to a piece of bamboo or bone. This practice spread to Europe, where pig hairs, horse hairs, and even goose feathers were used to make bristles.


An Englishman named William Addis was not only the first person to mass-produce toothbrushes, but also to create the design most similar to the toothbrushes we use today. He first made this toothbrush while he was in prison. Addis drilled holes in a piece of bone, pulled hairs through it, and then tied and glued them.


In 1937, Du Pont Laboratories invented nylon material. A year later, the animal hairs used to make toothbrush bristles were replaced with nylon ones, a change I’m sure we’re all thankful for.