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History and evolution of oral hygiene



*Corresponding author

Department of Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences,
The University of Toledo, 3000 Arlington Ave., Toledo, OH 43614, USA


In our modern society, brushing of teeth is an integral part of personal hygiene. Toothpaste, floss and toothbrush are items often taken for granted and no one wonders when and how they were invented. Their creation and development have been long and arduous. Toothpaste as we know it today was only developed in the early 19th century. Tooth powder made of ashes, crushed eggshells, powdered minerals, leaves and flowers was the ancestor of toothpaste and gel. Toothbrush made of nylon bristles was not invented until 1938. However its early forms had been in existence for a long time. Back in 3500-3000 BC toothpicks and various chewing sticks were used to clean the teeth, which evolved into brushes made from animal hair and then into the synthetic bristle brushes we use today. This article provides a summary of the origin and history of tooth cleaning tools and practices


Brushing teeth every day is an important part of oral hygiene. Oral cleansing products and tools are among the oldest human inventions; however, their exact origin is difficult to trace and, due to the lack of historical sources it cannot be attributed to one person or society. The creation and development of toothpaste and the toothbrush have been long and arduous. Their main function has not changed; however, the idea of applying dentifrice has taken many forms over the years. Toothpaste, otherwise known as dentifrice, is a dental care product designed to be used with a toothbrush for the purpose of cleaning the accessible surfaces of teeth. Toothpaste usually comes in the form of a flavoured and maybe even coloured paste or gel including a wide variety of