Toothbrushes: History and More!
Toothbrushes have come a long way since the earliest forms that existed nearly 5000 years ago. People in ancient civilizations used a small twig with a frayed end as a “chew stick”. The end was rubbed across the teeth to remove food particles. More recently (say 400 years ago), brushes were made of bone, ivory, or wood handles the held stiff bristles from hogs or other animals. The brushes used today are made with nylon bristles and were first invented in 1938.
Brushing your teeth is a very important part of your oral hygiene. It helps remove bits of food and plaque (a sticky film of bacteria that irritates gums). If the plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar that can’t be removed by brushing alone. The tartar then traps more plaque and the gums get more irritated. The gums can then swell and bleed – this is gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal disease.
There are two basic kinds of toothbrushes: manual and powered. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends buying one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This Seal is earned by a company that can produce scientific evidence that shows their brush is safe, durable, and effective.
Both manual and powered brushes can be very effective in cleaning your teeth. Powered brushes can be more fun for a child to use and can also be very helpful for people with dexterity issues. Choose whatever version you like and find easy to use, so you will be sure to use it thoroughly at least twice each day along with flossing. It does not matter if you brush or floss first, just be sure to do both.
After brushing, be sure to completely rinse your brush and store it in an upright position if possible, and allow it to air dry. Replace your brush every 3-4 months, or sooner if it begins to appear worn or frayed. A frayed brush will not clean as well as a newer one. And be sure to see your dentist for regular check-ups.