Our friendly dentist at Perry L. Jeffries, DDS and Associates, PA always emphasizes the importance of brushing our teeth at least twice a day to fight tooth decay and prevent gum disease. This routine has become such an essential part of our daily lives that we hardly think twice about it. Let’s stop for a moment for a few words about how the toothbrush came into existence.
Historians reach all the way back to 3000 to 3500 B.C. for the first signs of what eventually became the toothbrush. Frayed twigs known as “chew sticks” are credited to the Egyptians, who preserved these rudimentary teeth-scrubbers in their tombs. Fast-forward to the 1400s, when we find the Chinese developing the first toothbrush that used bristles in the form of pigs’ hair, with bamboo or bone handles. These implements found their way to Europe, where horsehair was used for the bristles.
Sometime in the late 18th century, an Englishman named William Addis modernized the toothbrush’s design with a handle made of cattle bone to hold the animal-hair bristles. Some fifty years later, the first brush with three rows of bristles was invented. Nylon replaced animal hair as the material of choice for bristles in the late 1930s. Around that time, the electric toothbrush made its debut, although its wide use didn’t occur until around 1960.
Nowadays, the shelves at our local grocery or drug store are filled with manual and electric toothbrushes of various shapes and sizes, with soft, medium and hard bristles.
But no matter what type you use, it’s the way you brush that matters. The toothbrush should be placed at a 45-degree angle to the gums, with the brush moving gently back and forth on the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth. Inside surfaces of the front teeth are best cleaned using an up-and-down motion with a bush that’s titled vertically.
And don’t forget to have regular checkups with our friendly dentist at Perry L. Jeffries, DDS and Associates, PA. Contact us today for an appointment.
By Perry L. Jeffries, DDS and Associates, PA
November 28, 2022