Bacterial biofilm is a natural component of the oral environment and is compatible with health in balance situations. But when biofilm accumulates on dental or gingival tissues for a certain period of time, combined with others factors, it can lead to dental caries or periodontal disease, the major causes of tooth loss everywhere in the world and the two most common chronic human diseases.
Although the scientific knowledge about the nature and dynamics of the development of oral diseases has hugely improved in the last decades, we have tried to find ways to clean teeth since a remote past.
A variety of oral hygiene measures has been used since before recorded history. This has been verified by excavations done all over the world, in which chewing sticks, tree twigs, bird feathers and animal bones were found.
The early history and evolution of the toothbrush has its origin in the chewing sticks used by the Babylonians as early as 3500 BC. Also known as "miswak" or "siwak", it was also an ancient pre-Islamic habit. Mohammed was an enthusiastic supporter of its use as a "purgative for the mouth". He used to report that "it makes the teeth white, clarifies the understanding, makes the breath fragrant, dries up the phlegm, strengthens the gums around the teeth, makes the glance clear, sharpens the power of the vision, opens the bowels and whets the appetite", evidencing that, for some, "miswak" was not only a personal hygiene habit but also a spiritual custom. The chewing stick was a rudimentary toothbrush used as a single agent or with tooth powder or extract of roses.
The first true bristled toothbrush was originated in China at around 1600 AD. The first modern toothbrush was reinvented in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The first patent for a toothbrush was credited to H. N. Wadsworth in 1857, in the United States, but due to the high price of the hog bristle, the mass production of the product in America only started in the end of the 19th century. As technology progressed, natural swine bristles were replaced by synthetic fibers, usually nylon. The first electric toothbrush, an attempt to offer the public a brush that could simulate the action of a manual brush, was developed in 1939 in Scotland, but did not appear on the market until the 1960s. Today's sonic toothbrushes like our Georganics T35-C have revolutionised the way we brush, offering us benefits of high intensity vibrations that easily remove biofilm and plaque from teeth surface.
Ancient Greek and Roman literature had first reported the use of twigs as primitive toothpicks to remove food and debris from between the teeth. The intent of early humans was probably not to clean the teeth but simply to remove an unpleasant subjective sensation. The Greeks tended to keep these little instruments in their mouths continuously and were often referred to as "toothpick chewers". Around 1600 BC, the Chinese also used twigs made of trees carefully chosen from aromatic species that had the ability to clean and freshen the mouth. Wealthy citizens often carried their gold or silver toothpicks in fancy cases and used them ostentatiously at meals. Many religions, both before and after the Christian era, enjoined their adherents to practice cleanliness of the teeth using twig cuts as a tooth-pick.
The development of toothpaste began as long ago as 300-500 BC in China and India. First attempts at tooth cleaning included using abrasives such as crushed bone, crushed egg and oyster shells. Tooth powder was the first noticeable advance, and was made up of powdered charcoal, powdered chalk, salt and some flavouring agents. We have recreated a 60ml powder version of this available on line.
Modern toothpastes were developed in the 1800s. As the years passed, new components were added to their formulations, as soap and chalk. In 1873, toothpaste was firstly mass-produced. Due to advancements in synthetic detergents after World War II, the soap was replaced for emulsifying agents such as sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium ricinoleate. Fluoride was added initially in 1914, but the American Dental Association at first criticized its introduction. The ADA then sadly consented to the use of fluoride in toothpastes in 1960. In recent days non-fluoride toothpaste free from SLS, like our Mineral Rich range of toothpastes, have become more and more popular, perhaps due to the increased awareness of the danger associated with these chemicals and the easy access to online information.