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Home / Dental / How Did People Clean Their Teeth Before The Invention Of The Toothbrush
Ancient Egyptian wall painting, for AutoBrush

How Did People Clean Their Teeth Before The Invention Of The Toothbrush

  1. Bird Feathers, Animal Bones And Porcupine Quills
  2. Powdered Eggshells And Sheep Wool
  3. Oyster Shells And Crushed Bones

  

The humble toothbrush has been a staple tool in our daily routine of keeping ourselves healthy and clean. It is so widely available that we sometimes take it for granted. We only know its value when we forget to bring it during our travels or having misplaced it and we don’t have a spare one to use. Most of us couldn’t even go through the whole day without brushing our teeth. No amount of mint and mouthwash can replace the feeling of having freshly brushed teeth. In my opinion, that feeling alone is a luxury. A luxury that our ancestors didn’t have.


With all our modern conveniences, we sometimes take for granted the modern conveniences that we currently enjoy. Electricity, airplanes, internet - even simple conveniences like a toilet that flushes, plumbing, and let's not forget - the good old toothbrush. I sometimes wonder how ancestors cleaned their teeth before the toothbrush was invented. Hygiene is important even to them but without the toothbrush, how did they do it and what did they use?


Bird Feathers, Animal Bones And Porcupine Quills


No toothbrush? No toothpick? No problem. With the absence of the toothbrush, our ancestors used bird feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills to pick their teeth. Even at this time period, people were already aware of how important dental health is. The tools might not be as effective but their idea and purpose contributed to the modern dental care we enjoy today.

 

Porcupine on the forest floor, for AutoBrush

 

Powdered Eggshells And Sheep Wool


Sheep wool was once used to wipe and clean the teeth. The wool’s gritty texture made it effective for removing stains and other debris from the teeth. The same idea goes for the powdered eggshells. The problems with these methods are that they can only clean the surface of the teeth and are too harsh on our teeth’s enamel. Yes, the stains do get removed but it does extensive damage to the protective enamel. It is more harmful in the long run.

 

Sheep on a green field with other sheep on the background, for AutoBrush

 

Oyster Shells And Crushed Bones


Imagine a time when you had to use crushed bones and oyster shells just to clean your teeth. Crushed eggshells seemed more gentle compared to these two. The ancient Egyptians used these ingredients to create some sort of toothbrush and toothpaste combo. These have the same problems with the crushed eggshells method. They are too rough on the teeth.

 

Three open oysters, for AutoBrush

 

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