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Thread: Toothbrush Trivia
08-11-2004, 11:05 AM #1
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* Egyptians were perhaps the first to practice good oral hy-
giene over 5,000 years ago.
* Mesopotamians used a primitive toothpick. These original
toothpicks were most often made from porcupine quills, bird
feathers, or wooden thorns.
* The toothpick is still used as the primary tooth-cleaner
by an estimated 10 million people throughout the world. In
fact, toothpicks were used as the only method for cleaning
teeth as late as the early 1950s in some isolated sections
of the US.
* William Addis was the first to actually assemble a crude
version of the modern toothbrush by attaching hairs from
the tail of a cow to the end of a whittled bone.
* Late in the 1920s, a new method of attaching bristles to
the handle was developed: drilling holes into the brush
head, forcing in bunches of bristles, and securing them
with a staple.
* Prior to World War II, Chinese boar hairs were the fav-
ored material for bristles. Manufacturers switched to the
newly developed nylon filament after a roadblock out of
Chung-King impeded the export of these popular hairs.
* In the last 20 years, there have been about 4,000 tooth-
brush related patents.
Bacteria thrive on toothbrushes, which provide them with
ample food and water. And toothbrushes sit in your home's
most germ-laden room: the bathroom. Researchers have found
that streptococcus, staphylococcus, influenza and herpes
simplex I, among other pathogens, can survive on tooth-
Dr. Glass is very specific about the why's, do's and don'ts
of the toothbrush.
* "Everyone is quite fastidious when it comes to washing
their hands or their clothes," says Glass, "but when it comes
to their toothbrushes, most people keep it in the most unclean
room in the house." Dr. Glass says it's not a good idea to
keep toothbrushes in the bathroom. "Every time the toilet is
flushed, millions of germs are propelled into the air, many
of which settle on your toothbrushes." He also advises against
storing in a medicine cabinet, because bacteria prefer darkness
to propagate and nixes the idea of storing your toothbrush in
a plastic case where moulds will flourish.
Don't store your toothbrush in the bathroom. The bedroom is
usually the cleanest room in the house.
* While most dentists and Dental Association suggest chang-
ing your toothbrush every 3 months, Dr. Glass says you
should toss your toothbrush every two weeks...or four weeks
at the most. Toss out your toothbrush after any illness and
if you drop it on the floor. It is better to buy cheap
toothbrushes and not feel guilty throwing them out, than
to buy an expensive one that you'll keep and then possibly
compromise your health.
* A brand-new toothbrush comes fresh out of the package
with rounded bristles, but in as little as two weeks, they
become sharp daggers which create minute cuts in our gums.
"We transmit this bacteria into our bloodstream via over-
zealous brushing," says Glass. "The harder we brush, the
more likely we will get these germs." Dr. Glass is also
opposed to motorized toothbrushes as he has found that they
cause the most damage to gums.
* Use a soft-bristled brush. This will be the easiest on
* Always use a new toothbrush when traveling. From hotel
rooms to suitcases, toothbrushes are in contact with many
surfaces and are prone to more germs. The covered tooth-
brush cases is super germ breeding environment.
* Remember to rinse your brush with water after each use
and shake it gently until it's dry.
* How Long is Long enough?
You should brush your teeth at least 2-3 minutes twice a
day. Unfortunately, most only brush for 30-45 seconds once
* Toothpastes vs. Gels
It's simply a matter of personal preference. The only diff-
erence between pastes and gels is in their packaging and
flavor. Many people purchase gels under the false assumption
that they're less abrasive. Actually, gels can be more a-
brasive due to their higher silica (sand) concentration.
Fluoride is the true active ingredient at work in toothpaste.
* Okay...How much toothpaste?
Contrary to what you've seen on commercials, you don't need
to load your entire brush with toothpaste and make that nice
little swirl at the end. Dentifrice makers are just trying
to get you to use more toothpaste so you have to buy more
The amount of paste or gel needed for effective cleaning is
a pea-sized dab on the top half of your brush. Children
under six, however, should only be given 1/2 this amount.
* Smoker's Toothpastes
These types of toothpastes are generally not recommended
because of their potential for causing gum recession and
tooth abrasion. The most effective way to beat smoking
stains is to stop smoking. Enough said!
Whenever a close friend is off on a trip my usual blessing
goes..."Say please and thank you. Look the right direction
for oncoming traffic. And don't forget to floss!"
- 08-11-2004, 11:20 AM #2
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Thanks for the interesting trivia! Some of it makes you wonder, doesn't it?
The guy who does our yearly infection control inservices at work could have written that article-- he advises a new toothbrush every time anyone in the house has a cold! Of course, this same guy refuses to shake hands with anyone because of the potential "poop bugs" from improper handwashing.... he's a little extreme when it comes to germs.
08-11-2004, 12:59 PM #3
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Interesting Brenda! Thanks!
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