Brushing and flossing are essential practices to maintain dental health, yet some people (including celebrities) opt to skip the oral health basic. That decision is foolish as science has proven that brushing is essential not only to oral health, but general well being. That is why every person needs to have the basic tools of a toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste and dental floss in their dental bag-of-tricks.
Of the dental tools, selecting a toothbrush may be the most difficult task for consumers. Aside from the huge array of color choices, individuals also have to decide between manual and electric options and natural bristles or fabricated varieties. Next time you ponder the decision, here is some information that may sway you in one direction or another.
The Toothbrush Back Story
For thousands of years humans have been dedicated to their oral health. The very first dental care device in recorded in history was a chewstick (a twig with a frayed end) dating back to 3000 BC. Since that time, archaeological expeditions have unearthed an assortment of primitive toothbrushes including feathers, tree twigs, animal bones and porcupine quills that were initially used to help aid in the task of removing food particles, dental plaque and freshening bad breath.
Although there are other tales of toothbrushes being used for hundreds of years, the devices were primitive and made by hand until a combination of necessity and boredom prompted the creative genius of a prisoner. Legend has it that Englishman and jailbird William Addis made a toothbrush out of bone and bristles while serving time in 1780. Prior to his creation, tooth cleaning involved covering a rag with soot and salt and using that contraption to rub away tooth filth. Addis design laid the groundwork for contemporary toothbrushes. Once he was free, he started mass-producing the contraptions and by 1840 toothbrushes were being made in England, France, Germany, and Japan (The company founded by Addis in 1780). America did not get on the bandwagon until the first toothbrush patent was issued in 1857. Mass production began in 1885.
The earliest mass produced brushes were made out of natural animal bristles and not everyone had access to the luxury item. However as science advanced courtesy of DuPont inventing nylon (the material now used for bristles), the toothbrush business really started to take off. Thanks to the chemical creation, the first nylon toothbrush went on sale February 24, 1938. The rest is dental history.
The market is flooded with toothbrushes of all difference shapes, colors and designs. Millions of the contraptions are sold annually. According to the 2003 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, Americans voted the toothbrush as the number one invention they could not do without. Thankfully, they do not have to as the devices can be purchased for as little as a dollar. Regardless of the price tag here's how to pick the best toothbrush:
- Nylon Bristles: Although the advent of nylon made toothbrushes readily available, some companies still sell natural bristled devices. Natural bristles are not as sanitary as nylon brushes because bacteria enjoy calling the natural option home.
- The Softer The Better: Nylon can be firm or malleable and when it comes to buying a toothbrush the softer the bristles the better. Soft brushes can conform to the shape of teeth and get in tight spaces while harder bristles can be too rough on tooth enamel, cause gum recession that may lead to tooth sensitivity and other dental problems.
- Get a Grip: If you feel more comfortable using an angled toothbrush, so be it, but if you prefer something straight, go for it. The device just needs to be comfortable to use so any option is fine. There is no scientific proof that an angled toothbrush is better than a straight one.
Complement Your Mouth: A big headed toothbrush will be hard to angle in a small mouth, so make sure the size of the device works with the size of your oral cavity.