Before the Modern Toothbrush

The modern toothbrush wasn’t invented until 1938, but that does’t mean people never brushed their teeth. Ancient civilizations rubbed a “chew stick,” a twig with a frayed end, against their teeth to clean them. The bristle toothbrush was invented in 1498 by the Chinese, but the bristles were actually hog hairs, and the handle was made of bone or bamboo. Horsehairs were used in the 20th century until 1938, when DuPont introduced nylon, still in use today.