Facts for Historical Romance Writers – Toothpaste

The Toothbrush: –

blue toothbrushNatural bristle brushes (toothbrush) were invented by the ancient Chinese who made toothbrushes with bristles from the necks of cold climate pigs. French dentists were the first Europeans to promote the use of toothbrushes in the 17th and early 18th centuries. William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, created the first mass-produced toothbrush. The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth and many American Companies began to mass-produce toothbrushes after 1885.  The Florence Manufacturing Company was also the first to sell toothbrushes packaged in boxes. In 1938, DuPont manufactured the first nylon bristle toothbrushes.


Toothpaste: – 


Toothpaste most likely originated in China, Egypt, and India more than 6,000 years ago.

China: –  twigs and bones were mashed and mixed with water, salt, and flower petals to form a thick paste. This paste was then put on the end of a sharp bamboo leaf and applied to the teeth. This proved to be a very effective treatment for gingivitis.

Egypt: –  a mixture of mashed salt, crushed pepper, wet mint leaves, and dried iris flowers.

India: – Special twigs were used for brushing and each twig was naturally filled with a sweet nectar. By chewing the twig and rubbing it against the teeth, India became renowned for its white teeth,fresh breath, and clean mouths.

Hard to believe, but most Americans did not brush their teeth until Army soldiers brought their enforced habits of tooth brushing back home after World War II.  But since it was around for centuries, I’m sure a health conscious person could be brushing their teeth much earlier.  I would suggest not having toothpaste tubes or manufactured brushes in historical novels.