Teeth Whitening Over The Years
If you have been paying any attention at all to the teeth whitening products available on the market today, you will likely be bewildered at the many options out there. Who would have thought that there would be such a huge market for products that give you a brighter, whiter smile? It is easy to take these products for granted, but you realize just how good we have it today when you consider that such products weren’t around at all only a few short decades ago, much less for most of human history.
It is interesting to note that teeth whitening is not a new concern, and our ancestors were just as concerned about flashing their pearly whites as we are today. So how did they keep their shiny white throughout the ages? Some of the highlights–pun intended!–of teeth whitening efforts over the years are detailed below.
Way back in the day
Teeth whitening and cleaning efforts have actually been around for more than 5,000 years. As early as 3000 BC, people actually chewed on sticks as a dental hygiene method. A frayed end of an ordinary stick was typically used in this task, and it was these fibers that removed food debris and plaque from teeth. Interestingly enough, this method still remains in use to this day among many less developed cultures.
Teeth whitening renaissance
By the 16th century, toothbrushes fitted with bristles were already enjoyed some use. The Chinese being a particularly imaginative and innovative people were among the first to use these early toothbrushes, which were typically fashioned from bone or wood. As for the bristles, hog's hair was the material of choice. This device was a lot more effective than the frayed stick of old, since the bristles were better able to reach between the teeth and remove food particles that were stuck there.
The toothbrush grows up
Possibly the most significant development in teeth whitening history was the invention of the first modern toothbrush in 1938. The work of the DuPont Company, the main selling point of these toothbrushes was that they were a lot more sanitary than the nasty old hog's hair toothbrushes. Nevertheless, this new toothbrush wasn’t without its own critics, and dentists were hesitant to recommend them since the hard nylon used in the bristles could actually damage teeth. DuPont was a bit slow to take heed of the dangers of their nylon bristled toothbrushes, and it would be more than 10 years before they rethought their approach and came up with a new toothbrush that featured much softer vinyl bristles. This finally met with the approval of dentists, and the basic design of the toothbrush has remained largely unchanged since then.