The humble toothbrush has a long and noble history. Between 3500-3000 BC the Babylonians and the Egyptians made a brush by fraying the end of a twig. Tombs of the ancient Egyptians have been found containing and around 1600BC, the Chinese developed ‘chewing sticks’ made from aromatic tree twigs to freshen their ancient breath.
The Chinese invented the first natural bristle toothbrush made from the bristles from pigs’ necks in the 15th century, attached to a bone or bamboo handle. In Europe, they were made of less sturdy stuff and used softer horsehairs or even feathers.
In 1780 William Addis carved the first ‘modern’ toothbrush from cattle bone and pig bristles, while in 1844, the first 3-row bristle brush was designed.
The invention of nylon started the development of the truly modern toothbrush in 1938, and the first electric toothbrush was made in 1939.
The Egyptians started using a paste to clean their teeth around 5000BC. The ingredients of ancient toothpastes were varied. Ingredients used included a powder of ox hooves’, ashes and burnt eggshells combined with pumice. The Greeks and Romans included crushed bones and oyster shells, powdered charcoal and bark. Roman soldiers on the march used their own urine to give their mouths that extra freshness when conquering the world.
The Valencian company Naturbrush has turned the clock back and opted for a modern, biodegradable toothbrush made from bamboo. They were inspired by images of wildlife affected by the vast quantities of plastic dumped at sea and responsible for a massively silent ecological problem, a plastic continent near Hawaii.
With the slogan ‘Happy smile, happy planet’ they have launched a timeless product in a market where the biological time bomb is ticking.
For the moment they are selling on-line and in a few shops near Valencia, and what’s more, 10% of all sales are donated to the Valencian BGO Casa de Caridad.