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Take a walk down the oral care aisle at your local grocery store or large retailer and the options for grabbing a new toothbrush are plenty. You can find a large variety of colors, styles, bristle types and then there’s the battery powered and electric models that can be overwhelming due to their impressive claims and features—not to mention price tags.
A decade or so ago toothbrushes with built-in timers and music designed to encourage children to brush longer and better seemed so new wave. Now, many of today’s smart brushes can track and share data designed to improve brushing methods and routines to improve oral care. Smartphone apps can help consumers brush properly and to know when they’re missing areas of the mouth that need more attention. Musical playlists can be customized to assist with the brushing experience.
These technology-driven and science-backed toothbrushes weren’t around thousands of years ago, but that’s not to say people back then weren’t searching for ways to care for their teeth. Early forms of “tooth-cleaning devices” included twigs, brushes made from animal bones and animal hair, and even rags used to rub teeth clean.
Here we take a fun, quick look at 10 steps in the evolution of the toothbrush.