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16 Fun Facts About Toothbrushes

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Author: Hai Le

Updated on April 1, 2024 • Estimated read time: 7 minutes

Toothbrush is one of the most essential tools in our daily lives. We use it twice a day to brush our teeth and keep our mouths healthy. But how much do you really know about your toothbrushes?

Did you know that the average toothbrush has about 2,500 bristles? Or that the most expensive toothbrush in the world costs $4,200? Learn more about the history, interesting facts, and environmental impact of toothbrushes in this informative blog post.

History Of The Toothbrush

Fun Fact #1: The First Toothbrush Was Invented In China In 1498.

According to WIRED, the first toothbrush was invented on June 26, 1498, by the emperor of China. It was made with hogback bristles set into a piece of bone or bamboo.

Fun Fact #2: The First Plastic Toothbrush Was Invented In 1938.

According to Library of Congress, the modern toothbrush with synthetic bristles as we know it today was invented in 1938. Nylon bristles introduced by Dupont de Nemours were a major improvement over the natural bristles that were previously used in toothbrushes.

Small Fun Fact: The first nylon toothbrush was called Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush.

Fun Fact #3: The First Electric Toothbrush Was Invented In 1954.

According to Wikipedia, the electric toothbrush with nylon bristles was first introduced in Switzerland in 1954. It was called the Broxodent, designed to make brushing teeth easier and more effective, especially for people with disabilities or mobility issues.

Small Fun Fact: Modern electric toothbrushes often have built-in timers to ensure that you brush for the recommended two minutes.

Bamboo toothbrush with charcoal bristles and toothpaste on it

Interesting Facts About Toothbrushes

Fun Fact # 4: The Average Toothbrush Has About 2,500 Bristles.

The number of bristles on a toothbrush can vary depending on the size and type of toothbrush, but according to Hospitality Dental & Orthodontics, a typical plastic toothbrush has around 2,500 bristles grouped into tufts.

These durable and flexible nylon bristles are designed to effectively remove plaque and food particles from the teeth without causing damage to the enamel.

Fun Fact #5: The Average Person Spends Around 1 Day Every Year Just Brushing Their Teeth.

With the recommended 2 minutes of brushing twice a day, a small study done by Dentistry IQ shows that a 79-year average life span brushing at four minutes per day, that comes to 1,440 minutes per year, or one day per year of brushing, which is 79 days throughout a person's lifetime.

Fun Fact # 6: The Most Expensive Toothbrush In The World Costs $4,200.

According to Business Insider, the Reinast Luxury Toothbrush, retailing for $4,200, is the most expensive toothbrush on earth. It's made of a titanium handle and detachable head bristle.

Fun Fact #7: Toothbrushes Have Been Used In Space!

According to Apple Springs Family Dentistry, astronauts on the International Space Station use a standard toothbrush with nylon bristles. However, there are theories out there that claim astronauts use special toothbrushes that are designed to prevent toothpaste from floating away.

Fun Fact #8: Chew Sticks Were Used As Early Toothbrushes By Ancient Egyptians To Cleaning Teeth.

According to PV Smiles Reem Kidess, the earliest history toothbrushes were found in ancient Egyptian history in the form of a chewing stick. These sticks came from a tree called Salvadora persica, which is also known as miswak.

Small Fun Fact: Chewing sticks have inspired a number of inventions, including toothpick, toothbrush, electric toothbrush, toothbrush holder, and toothbrush travel case.

Fun Fact #9: Blue Is The Most Popular Toothbrush Color.

According to Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry, blue is the most common toothbrush color, followed by red. Green is the third most popular toothbrush color.

Fun Fact#10: People Used Paste To Clean Their Teeth Even Before Toothbrushes Were Invented!

According to Pennsylvania Dental Association, the ancient Egyptians were one of the first cultures to use toothpaste, around 5000 BC. Their toothpaste was made from a variety of ingredients, including ashes from ox hooves, burnt eggshells, pumice, and oyster shells.

Small Fun Fact: Toothpaste has evolved a lot over the years to help people maintain good oral health. Today's toothpaste typically contains fluoride, coloring, flavoring, sweetener, and ingredients that make it smooth, foamy, and moist.

Another Small Fun Fact: Most dentists don't recommend activated charcoal toothbrushes as there are not enough scientific studies to support their use. Use them at your own risk, side effects include dehydration, malnourishment, vomiting, nausea, and more.

Fun Fact #11: In 2003, the toothbrush was chosen as the #1 invention people can’t live without, beating out cell phones and cars.

According to the Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, in 2003, toothbrush was selected as the number one invention the American public could not live without. Beating cars, personal computers, cell phones, and microwaves.

A used plastic toothbrush laying in the sand

Not So Fun Fact About Toothbrush

Fun Fact #12: 1 Billion Plastic Toothbrushes Are Thrown Away Every Year In The United States

Plastic toothbrushes are a major source of waste. According to National Geographic, about 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States, and almost none of them are recyclable.

Small Fun Fact: According to The Better India, plastic toothbrushes are the second-largest plastic waste generated after plastic bags. Just in India alone, more than 150 million plastic toothbrushes are being thrown away every month.

Fun Fact #13: Plastic Toothbrush Is One Of The Top Contributors To Plastic Waste In Our Oceans Today

Plastic toothbrushes make up a large portion of beach litter. Around 4.7 million toothbrushes end up in our oceans every single year. According to National Geographic, in any given Hawaii beach cleanup, it's not uncommon to pick up 20 or even 100 toothbrushes.

Fun Fact #14: Plastic Toothbrushes Are Not Recyclable

According to an article published by National Geographic, most plastic toothbrushes are not recyclable since the composite plastic used to create them doesn't break apart efficiently, and their small part could get stuck in the machine.

Small Fun Fact: Most of us will replace around 300 toothbrushes during our lifetime. This is a lot of waste, especially when you consider that plastic toothbrushes are not recyclable.

Fun Fact #15: Plastic Toothbrush Can Take Up To 500 Years Or More To Decompose

Again, your plastic toothbrushes play a significant role in this global crisis. According to WWF Australia, plastic toothbrushes are made from polypropylene plastic and nylon and can take up to 500 years or more to decompose.

Small Fun Fact: According to National Geographic, every plastic toothbrush that's been produced since the 1930s still exists on this planet.

Fun Fact #16: Bamboo Toothbrushes Are An Eco-Friendly Alternative To Plastic Toothbrushes

Bamboo toothbrushes are designed to have all the advantages of plastic toothbrushes while leaving the harmful disadvantages behind. They have the same effectiveness at cleaning teeth as plastic toothbrushes because they both use the same nylon bristle.

Small Fun Fact: According to Guinness World Records, bamboo is the fastest-growing plant in the world. Not only that, but they can regrow quickly after being cut down, making them one of the most environmentally friendly products available.

Quick Takeaway

History Of The Toothbrush

  1. The first toothbrush was invented in China in 1498.
  2. The first plastic toothbrush was invented in 1938.
  3. The first electric toothbrush was invented In 1954.

Interesting Facts About Toothbrush

  • The average toothbrush has about 2,500 Bristles.
  • The average person spends around 1 day every year just brushing their teeth.
  • The most expensive toothbrush in the world costs $4,200.
  • Toothbrushes Have Been Used In Space!
  • Chew Sticks Were Used As Early Toothbrushes By Ancient Egyptians To Cleaning Teeth.
  • Blue Is The Most Popular Toothbrush Color.
  • People Used Paste To Clean Their Teeth Even Before Toothbrushes Were Invented!
  • In 2003, the toothbrush was chosen as the #1 invention people can’t live without, beating out cell phones and cars.

Not So Fun Fact About Toothbrush

  • 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States
  • Plastic toothbrush is one of the top contributors to plastic waste in our oceans today
  • Plastic toothbrushes are not recyclable
  • Plastic toothbrush can take up to 500 years or more to decompose
  • Bamboo toothbrushes are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic toothbrushes

So, there you have it! 16 fun facts about toothbrushes. Next time you brush your teeth, take a moment to appreciate this simple but important tool for your oral health.

Frequently Asked Questions Relate To This Blog:

Question #1: Why is it important to brush my teeth?

Answer: Brushing your teeth is important for removing plaque and bacteria, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. You don't want to have tooth decay and gum disease that lead to serious health problems, such as tooth loss, heart disease, and stroke.

Question #2: What type of toothbrush is best for me?

Answer: The best type of toothbrush for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. There are many different types of toothbrushes available, including manual, electric, and sonic toothbrushes. If you are unsure which type of toothbrush is right for you, talk to your dentist.

Question #3: How can I reduce the environmental impact of my toothbrush?

Answer: There are two main ways to reduce the environmental impact of your toothbrush: First, you can switch to a bamboo toothbrush that help reduce unnecessary plastic consumption. Second, you can buy a toothbrush with a replaceable head so you can simply replace the head of your toothbrush when it's worn out, instead of throwing away the entire toothbrush.

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