Toothbrushes

This passage discusses the origin of the toothbrush.

Lexile Level: 1020L

Categories: History Sports & Health


Although early forms of the toothbrush have existed since 3000 B.C., toothbrushes like we use today have been around for less than 100 years. The first toothbrushes were thin twigs called "chew sticks" that people rubbed against their teeth. The first bristle brushes were invented by the Chinese in 1498 and were made from pig's hair attached to bone or bamboo handles. Similar boar bristles were used for centuries. Toothbrushes were first mass-produced in England around 1780 and in America around 1885. Nylon bristles like the ones we use today were introduced in 1938 in a toothbrush called Doctor West's Miracle Toothbrush. People in the United States didn't begin brushing regularly until after World War II. The U.S. Army gave toothbrushes to soldiers, who learned to brush twice a day. The habit caught on throughout the country when the troops returned. Electric toothbrushes appeared in the 1960s. Today we have many choices when buying a toothbrush, from simple, inexpensive brushes to electric brushes that can cost more than a hundred dollars.


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