Ah, the toothbrush. Your weapon in the war against tooth decay. Many people take our bristled friends for granted, but I’m going to share 10 little-known facts about the toothbrush – many of which can lead to better oral health for you and your children.
- Boar hairs used in first toothbrush. While the Egyptians and Babylonians were reported to have been brushing back around 3,000 BC, the first bristle toothbrush was invented in China in 1498. “Boar hairs” were attached to handles, which I’m sure made for a mighty tasty experience.
- Toothbrushes get sick too. You should throw away your toothbrush after you’ve been sick. Bacteria love to hang out in those bristles. You’ll also want to replace your TB after a canker or cold sore.
- Electric beats manual. You may have heard that an electric toothbrush trumps a manual, but do you know why? It’s all in the revolutions per minute. Those little electric-powered bristles get more rotations and oscillations than you could physically muster.
- Soft beats hard. Soft bristles are always preferable, as hard bristles can irritate your gums. So why do they even make hard bristles? We’re not sure, although they can come in handy when you’re trying to clean hard-water deposits in hard-to-reach places.
- Replace every 3-4 months. Can you remember the last time you replaced your toothbrush? If the answer is no, you’re not alone, as 75 percent of people don’t change as often as recommended.
- Blue wins. The most popular toothbrush color (drumroll please)…is blue! What’s your fave? Please tell us by leaving a comment at the end of the post.
- Your toothbrush head should not be bigger than your real head. For a matter of comfort, not to mention effectiveness, choose a toothbrush head that’s proportionate to your mouth. If your toothbrush head looks like a garden spade inside your mouth, it’s probably too big. Pick something that you can maneuver easily.
- Tongue cleaner too. Those teeth-cleaning bristles have a dual purpose. They can also be used to clean your tongue. And some toothbrushes also have a tongue-cleaner on the flip side of the toothbrush head that you can use to scrub the old raspberry.
- Over 1,000 hours in a lifetime. The average person spends over 1,000 hours brushing their teeth throughout their life. Consider effective brushing equals about two minutes per session, and you see how the numbers add up. (That’s a crazy amount of time, isn’t it?
- Over $850 million per year. People spend over $850 million per year on toothbrushes, including electric and manual. That’s amazing considering how many dentists give away manual toothbrushes at each cleaning. It’s a stable industry, I guess, considering how it has been around since the 1400s (not many iPhones can make that claim.)
There you have it. Ten fun-filled and helpful facts about toothbrushes. But let’s not forget the most important fact: The toothbrush is your most important tool in the fight against cavities and tooth decay. Use it well, and be thankful it’s here to help you (and that it’s not made out of boar hair!)