The Original ‘Toothbrush’ Was a Stick


The early toothbrushes were little more than "chew sticks," which were tiny frayed twigs used to scrape plaque and food residue off and between teeth. Twisting and rubbing these sticks against their teeth was a slight improvement over the traditional way of rubbing and cleaning the teeth with plants, feathers, or anything else. To refresh the breath, certain chew sticks were constructed from aromatic wood. Chew sticks have been found as far back as Babylon, Egypt, and China.

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