Author: Stacy Bennett

Several forms, sizes, and features make up the toothbrush market at present. But before Hautman and Goldstein invented the very first commercial toothbrush in 1875, people used different materials to give their mouth a clean.


How Toothbrushes Came To Be

Ancient people used items easily found in their surroundings such as chew sticks, animal bones, bird feathers, tree twigs, and porcupine quills.

In the late 1400s, the first modern concept of a toothbrush was believed to have been Chinese people. Attached to a bamboo stick, the toothbrush used the stiff hairs from a hog’s hair. On the other hand, Muslims used miswak, a twig derived from a Salvadora persica tree, to clean their teeth. Also, in the ancient Indian medicine, the neem tree is used to create toothbrushes.

The very first mass-produced toothbrush is credited to William Addis of England who created it in 1780. In the United States, H.N. Wadsworth held the first patent for a toothbrush in 1857, but mass production of the oral hygiene instrument only started in 1885.

In 1938, toothbrushes with natural animal bristles such as from Siberian boars were replaced with synthetic fibers like nylon, giving birth to the first nylon-bristled toothbrush manufactured from nylon yarn on February 24, 1938. American conglomerate DuPont is credited for replacing animal fibers with synthetic fibers.

In 1954, Dr. Philippe Guy Woog of Switzerland challenged the traditional manual toothbrush market with his invention of the first electric toothbrush which is a plugged-in device running on a line voltage and initially designed for people under orthodontic treatment or with limited motor skills.

In the 1960s, American multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE) came out with a rechargeable, cordless toothbrush with the capability to move up and down.


How Toothpaste Came To Be

The first known account about toothpaste was found as early as the fourth century A.D. in Egypt were a mixture of pepper, mint leaves, iris flowers, and powdered salt where specified as ingredients.

Ancient Chinese people were also believed to be early users of toothpaste which was made from mashed bones and twigs combined with salt, water, and flower petals. On the other hand, ancient Indians hinged its use of toothpaste to its Ayurvedic medicine where rare twigs are chewed and rubbed on the teeth to whiten and clean them.

In the 19th century, cleaning the teeth involved the use of tooth powders made from home and with either salt, chalk, or pulverized brick. Toothpaste collapsed into tubes came into the picture in 1880 with Dr. Washington Sheffield’s Crème Dentifrice. Colgate imitated this idea and produced Colgate & Company’s Dental Cream in 1896.

Fluoride, a common ingredient in present-day toothpaste, was only added into the formula of toothpaste in 1914. By 1960, the American Dental Associated has endorsed fluoride in toothpaste as effective in oral care.

Aside from fluoride, antibacterial and antifungal agent, Triclosan, was also added in some toothpaste. The antibacterial and antifungal agent protects against plaque build-up, periodontal diseases, bad breath, and tooth decay.

At present, different variants of toothpaste meant to address different dental needs of consumers are sold in the market.

The American Dental Association considers thumb-sucking as a normal activity and part of child’s natural reflexes. The action provides security, happiness, and induces sleep.

It also reduces the likelihood of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SID is an unexplained death of a baby while asleep. Experts have associated the syndrome with low birth weight, respiratory infection, and brain defects.

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Statistically, over 75 percent of children are sucking their fingers on their first year, a figure which diminishes in preschool years as children begin to explore and build relationships. By the age of five, only 20 percent of children are thumb-sucking.

Still, thumb-sucking can be problematic when it comes to the growth of the teeth and mouth.

Because the thumb is placed inside the mouth and rests its bottom part on the top of the teeth, a pressure is exerted on the front teeth which can cause overbite and problems with the general bite and spacing.

When the teeth shift, the face can misshape and pose problems in eating, speaking, as well as, oral care.

ADA recommends discouraging the habit of thumb-sucking gradually instead of pressuring them to stop abruptly.

How to make my child break the thumb-sucking habit?

To dissuade your child from sucking his or her thumb, you can give him an alternative especially when he or she is under stressful situations. Because most children succumb to thumb-sucking when anxious, you can help them break the habit by resolving their cause of anxiety or allowing your child to depend on you instead during those events.

When your child is bored, occupy his or her hands or distract him or her so the thoughts of sucking on his or her fingers will go away. You can make your child wear mittens or gloves or put a bitter-tasting liquid on his or her nail as a reminder not to suck on his or her fingers.

Experts do not encourage scolding a child on his or her thumb-sucking habit. Instead, explaining carefully to your child the harms of his or her habit.

Patience is always needed when dealing with children. Be patient and gentle in your approach so as not to scare him or her.

Your child’s progress in breaking his or her thumb-sucking habit may be slow and little. In spite of this, compliment your child to motivate him or her to discontinue sucking his or her thumb.

You can also give him or her appropriate rewards for his or her progress or keep a chart for your child to see how far he or she has achieved in breaking the habit. These simple methods can encourage your child and serve as a reminder.

You can also ask your doctor on the best approach to deal with it. Also, visit your dentist Honolulu and schedule dental check-ups to examine your child’s teeth and mouth development. Since the habit of thumb-sucking can cause oral-related problems, your dentist Honolulu can help address them as soon as possible and prevent further complications.

While trying to break the habit, always ensure the cleanliness of your child’s fingers to prevent bacteria from entering the mouth and causing diseases. Proper oral hygiene will also be helpful in keeping your child’s oral health in check despite the thumb-sucking habit.