Toothbrush Trivia – 15 Fun Facts

While dentists and other professionals use a vast array of instruments and products, the most common dental supplies in Australia and worldwide are the ones you buy for yourself – toothbrushes and toothpaste!

We reach for these at least twice a day, and they are essential personal care items. Oral hygiene and regular preventative dental care are not just critical for the wellbeing and maintenance of your teeth and eliminating bad breath, either. They are crucial for prevention of issues like gum disease, oral cancer, and even heart disease, pneumonia, and arthritis.

Here are some interesting facts about the humble toothbrush.

15 Fun Facts about Toothbrushes


  1. Five thousand years ago, the ancient Egyptians used twigs and leaves to clean their teeth, and the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Indians frayed twigs at one end to use as crude toothbrushes.
  2. The first bristle toothbrush was invented during the Chinese Tang Dynasty, more than one thousand years ago. These types of toothbrushes were not introduced to Europe until the 1600s. Until this time, Europeans used crushed shell or soot to clean the teeth, which they applied to their teeth with a cloth.
  3. The first mass-produced toothbrush was manufactured by Englishman William Addis in 1780. He invented it by drilling a small animal bone leftover from the dinner table with small holes. He tied broom bristles in tufts on the bone and sealed them with glue. He eventually founded the company which remained a family business until 1994. It is now known as Wisdom Toothbrushes and produces 70 million toothbrushes per year.
  4. By 1840, toothbrushes were mass-produced in Japan, England, Germany and France.
  5. Until the middle of the 1900s, most mass-produced toothbrushes were imported from China, made from pig or horsehair bristles. Badger hair was also used, providing a more expensive toothbrush option for wealthy buyers.
  6. In 1938, the first synthetic soft-bristle toothbrush went on sale, made from nylon yarn. It was called the Miracle Tuft Toothbrush. Within the next decade, nylon bristle toothbrushes were being mass-produced by Oral B.
  7. 1937 saw the first US patent filed for an electric toothbrush. It was called the Motodent and invented by Tomlinson Mosely. The first mass-produced electric toothbrush was invented in 1954 in Switzerland by Dr Phillipe-Guy Woog. It was named the Broxodent.
  8. The first “sustainable” toothbrush was named the Hoke2 brush. Invented by Jack Hokanson, it had a replaceable bristle head on a non-disposable handle.
  9. In 2003, the toothbrush was named in the USA as the most essential invention which people could not live without.

Did You Know?

  1. The average toothbrush has 2,500 bristles.
  2. One in ten people regularly forget/neglect to brush their teeth.
  3. Tooth brushing only became a routine daily activity in the USA after World War II. This was because the US Army enforced the hygiene habit amongst serving soldiers.
  4. More than half of people surveyed admit to being willing to share a toothbrush (not a good idea!) with their partner, child, or even a friend.
  5. Keep your toothbrush clean! Keep it at least 2 metres away from the toilet (ideally in a cabinet if it is in the same room as the toilet). Always close the toilet lid before flushing. Rinse your toothbrush well after each use and store it upright and not touching others’ toothbrushes. Don’t put a cap on your toothbrush – this keeps the head moist and vulnerable to bacteria.
  6. You should replace your toothbrush as soon as the bristles become worn. Ever two months is a good basic guide. You should also replace your toothbrush after you have been unwell with a cold, flu, other viral infection.

Shop Online with Adam Dental

Adam Dental is a top Australian distributor of thousands of dental supplies for dentists and other health, education, and government professionals. From professional dental supplies like prophy paste to a wide variety of toothpaste and toothbrushes, we have it all!

Visit Adam Dental today or contact us here.