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History : Teeth Brush?[edit]

I was wondering if anyone could tell me about the origin of the word "toothbrush". A student asked me why they call it a "TOOTHBRUSH" and not a "teethbrush". And please, no jokes about West Virginia or Tennesee.

what's the joke of West Virginia or Tennesee? Xah Lee 20:54, July 28, 2005 (UTC)
That people there only have one tooth each. Confluence 10:30, 21 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I imagine it's called a toothbrush for the same reason that an egg-carton isn't called an eggs-carton and pea soup isn't called peas soup - those are two examples that I could think of on the spur of the moment, but there seems to be a general pattern in English for making compound names like this. Can you think of a single such name which refers to the (multiple) things something is made from or used with, with a plural noun? Confluence 10:30, 21 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The word is made up of two nouns - "tooth" and "brush"; thus its an compound noun; but the two words are written together. The first word "tooth" describes the second word "brush" and it gives a character to the second word.

The first word "tooth" thus acts as an adjective and becomes an "attribute noun". As it acts as an adjective, it follows the

* Gives importance to the TYPE of element its relating to rather than "NUMBER".

E.g . shoe rack, footrest, toothpaste, nail enamel, hairbrush...... from: Onetexan — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:55, 24 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fair use?[edit]

I don't think we can use the apprentice image under fair use for this article as it's in no way related to the the apprentice series. Has anyone got a digital camera and a toothbrush handy? --W(t) 01:32, 2005 May 17 (UTC)

act of brushing teeth[edit]

is there an article about the act of brushing teeth? i.e. when did teeth brushing started? I imagine it started in the 1900s when toothbrush is mass produced... but then What is the effect if one don't brush teeth at all? I imagine unimaginable decay and teeth loss... but people seems to also live relative long (up to 50s) before 1990. What's the deal? Xah Lee 20:54, July 28, 2005 (UTC)

I think tooth brushing (or cleaning) goes back millenia, I'm pretty sure it was practiced by the Hindu brahmins, among other groups. Generally, the old-fashioned method involved using a stick. Emmett5 22:48, 17 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I've added a section on the method of brushing the teeth (not the history). I'm not a professional in the area, I only know so much about this that I need for everyday life, so someone who knows more might want to review this. Also, I don't know much about how to use an electric toothbrush.

Also, should brushing the teeth be a redirect here? – b_jonas 14:35, 28 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Great thanks for the cleanup to Heron. – b_jonas 13:47, 1 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've read that you are supposed to brush in a circular motion at a 45 degree so that you can clean the gumline. I think that if you do it correctly, it feels as if you are brushing your gums. Also does anyone know how people can brush before they eat breakfast (since the article recommends that you brush twice a day, preferably after a meal), the taste in your mouth before you brush your teeth is disgusting, so I must brush before eating, but brushing right after eating breakfast seems so soon and I wait until after dinner. Any information/research on this? 13:21, 23 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't think any dentist has any clue what they're talking about when it comes to brushing teeth. Over the years I've been told (straight from my dentists mouth) to, Brush in Circles, Brush up and down only, and Brush only with the growth of the tooth (up or down). Now I read this article and apparently the current "fad" in dentistry is "Brush back and forth with tooth wide strokes along the gum line with gentle pressure.". Which seems to suggest "Right to Left". Mark my words, in 5 years dentists will "discover" that if we brush our teeth with our finger and hum "Rule Britannia", our teeth are magically clean after the first verse. --The Lone Bard 19:24, 29 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

   rule britannia? huh. FY(simplemindedbrain)I,all these "different" methods should all result in brushing from the gumline. it doesnt matter whether you do right and left or up and down first, as long as you brush teh base of your dirty teeth.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:37, 30 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply] 

Ordinary vs. electric[edit]

I read this article in search of a solution to whether an electric toothbrush is better than an ordinary one or not. I found two opposite answers:

  • Also, you can use an electric toothbrush (though it is not recommended) instead of a normal toothbrush.
  • Research shows these may prove more effective at removing plaque and preventing gingival bleeding than the manual toothbrushes.

So which one should I rely on? - Sylph 17:47, 23 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know. I've originally written that both methods are equivalent, but don't trust me, I'm not a professional. To be sure, ask your dentist. Of course, it is possible that different dentists would have different opinions. – b_jonas 22:37, 31 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They may also be sponsered by a certain company. Someone needs to find research on this for more conclusive evidence, the article is mislead and whether one is better than the other should be removed until we get some conclusive evidence. 13:17, 23 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cochrane says: When compared to manual toothbrushes, powered toothbrushes with a rotation oscillation action provide protection against gum inflammation in the long and short term and better plaque removal in the short term Powered toothbrushes simulate manual toothbrushing in different ways (such as moving side to side or circular motions). The review of trials found that only rotation oscillation (where brush heads rotate in one direction and then the other) is better than manual toothbrushes at removing plaque and reducing gum inflammation, and is no more likely to cause injuries to gums. This is conclusive evidence.

Why brush the teeth?[edit]

I can't guarantee that this is the logic behind brushing teeth, but it's my current reasoning, and people are welcome to suggest improvements about it.

1. Bacteria is on the teeth, but the bacteria do no damage the teeth as long as the teeth are clean because the bacteria don't eat the teeth. 2. Bacteria use the food that is on the teeth to eat and reproduce, and it's waste products damage the teeth. 3. Now there's so much bacteria that if you don't use a toothbrush then they will continue to consume the food on the teeth and continue with the waste products that damage the teeth. Logictheo 05:33, 15 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tooth brushing removes the bacteria that are responsible for acid erosion of the teeth (Strep. Mutans and Lactobacilli) therefore preventing caries (tooth decay). However bacteria begin to colonize the mouth within 30 minutes following meticulous tooth brushing. The more important function of tooth brushing is the application of fluoride which prevents the demineralisation of enamel. For this reason it is important not to rinse the mouth with water or mouthwash following tooth brushing; as this will remove the fluoride applied during tooth brushing. (dental student) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:21, 19 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

     this is completely unbased on logic, but spur-of-the-moment laymen thinking. you. are. being. laughed. at.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:33, 30 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply] 

I read somewhere (A scholarly review, but unfortunately I lost the reference) that there is no evidence that brushing reduces the incidence of dental caries, other than by providing fluoride. Can anyone find a reference to a study which did show a benefit (I mean a clinical study, not an unsubstantiated recommendation by some some dental association)? And is the fluoride beneficial even if your water is fluoridated? Medicine has become "evidence-based", it is time for dental care to do the same. This idea of "removing bacteria" has backfired more than once before. It turns out the healthy human body is host to large numbers of bacteria, and efforts to remove them generally result in the beneficial bacteria being replaced by less desirable ones. Feminine douching is detrimental unless the solution is slightly acidic to favor beneficial bacteria (and serves no useful purpose even then). Daily showers with soap remove beneficial ammonia-oxidizing bacteria from the skin, which results in body odor (google "David Whitlock"). Antibiotics wreak havoc on the gut microbiome, which has been blamed for a number of ills but definitely can lead to devastating infection by C. difficile by eliminating the competition. Asthma tends to be more prevalent in children raised in a more hygienic environment. Eaberry (talk) 20:29, 15 March 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Theonlyedge 00:06, 31 January 2006 (UTC) I'd just like to say that this is a very funny article.Reply[reply]

Toothbrush sharing[edit]

You shouldn't share your toothbrush with anyone else. Yeah, it's common sense, and the idea of using someone else's toothbrush sure is gross, but why? The article about kissing doesn't even mention hygiene in the first place, but I suspect it's less hygienic to kiss one another than share a toothbrush with someone (as toothbrushes get washed and a paste is used to enhance cleaniness). Some tests also suggest that sharing a toothbrush is more hygienic than sharing a comb, probably due to the fact that combs don't get that much cleaned before of after use. Anyway, I'm not a professional, but I'm quite curious about this. - Sylph

Actually, kissing is more hygienic than shaking hands. It does seem like common sense, but if the toothbrush is washed, I don't see too much of a problem. However, I'm not a dentist. Doppelganger E 02:19, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
I remember getting told by some dentist speaker in school when I was little you can get AIDS from sharing a toothbrush because your teeth can bleed. It's for not spreading germs, anyway. Earfetish1 (talk) 06:06, 28 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Included--Saimondo (talk) 02:59, 23 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Recent History of the Toothbrush[edit]

Does anyone have any recent history of the toothbrush they can add to the article? It seems that in the last ten years or so, they've added all these (possibly useless) features such as wear indicators and angled bristles, flexible handles, rubber stimulators, etc. It's always been a source of puzzlement that there are dozens of these designs available now.

Yes, and round-tip bristles, which we read in places are preferable as less damaging. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 12 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Should you keep the toothpaste in your mouth, let it drip, or spit it out periodically? 12:09, 26 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, how much toothpaste should you use? 13:49, 1 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article mentions to rinse with water afterwards. Many dentist, including me, advise to only clean the mouth by spitting to give the fluoride extra time to do it's good work.

Saying that would mean more to me if you signed your post.--The Lone Bard 06:09, 1 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

They used to use animal hair as bristles!

also, doing so seems quite dangerous, considering the amount of fluoride one could swallow --UltraMagnus (talk) 19:29, 26 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sonicare ellite 9500 vs Oral-B triumph[edit]

I heard Good reviews from both product, I have using the Advance for 3 years now, I kind of want to get a replacement for it. Is there any good suggestion?

there neds to be more here on the evolution of the object, the toothbrush...

> I don't think an encyclopedia needs to have a discussion board about which toothbrush is better. Or am I wrong?

Toothbrush Care[edit]

I am not sure what you all think, but let me give you this suggestion. Wouldn't it be good to describe how to care for a toothbrush? For example: replace every 3 or so months let toothbrush air dry by having them stand up Sanitize a toothbrush by using antiseptic mouthwash or 3% hydrogen peroxide.

i was thinking what did people use in the industrial revoloution? Most people said queen victoria used sugar cane!
  lol utterly lame.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:30, 30 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply] 
I agree with you. At least changing it after 3 months of use should be mentioned. --User:Vanished user 8ij3r8jwefi 15:46, 30 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Partly done.--Saimondo (talk) 02:50, 23 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Can there be a section on best technique for teeth brushing? I know it is not a difficult thing and most people figure out some way of doing it, but isn't there a "best" technique (e.g. brushing in circles as opposed to straight across)? (talk) 02:21, 20 April 2009 (UTC) I notice that the section on flossing has a description of best technique. (talk) 02:23, 20 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a paper comparing the bass shaking style and the fones circle brushing, and it turned out that the fones would be more efficient.[1] i can include this later.

  1. ^ Shi, Songtao; Harnacke, Daniela; Mitter, Simona; Lehner, Marc; Munzert, Jörn; Deinzer, Renate (2012). "Improving Oral Hygiene Skills by Computer-Based Training: A Randomized Controlled Comparison of the Modified Bass and the Fones Techniques". PLoS ONE. 7 (5): e37072. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037072. ISSN 1932-6203.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: unflagged free DOI (link)open access
I think that cleaning the tooth using left-hand by right-handed man is more efficient because of using mutual non-standard positions of the hand and tooth - this way is more carefull than with standard hand. I think that this image models such process. RippleSax (talk) 05:04, 20 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bristle width[edit]

So, despite brushing often, I've apparently got some cavities in the fissures in my teeth. Turns out regular toothbrush bristles are too wide and can't reach into the fissures to clean them. This should be mentioned in the article, along with anything else that helps customers decide which types of brushes to buy. Here is a study where they made a better toothbrush for cleaning fissures: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:57, 5 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Environmental Impact??[edit]

There's a section on Environmental Impact?? Seriously?? Are we going to add one for every single product out there? Are toothbrushes notoriously bad for the environment? I suggest not, and that this section by a radical environmentalist should be removed. --Rehcsif (talk) 18:44, 3 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Done, I found it weird as well. It didn't put forth any claim that toothbrushes did so more than anything else, like shampoo bottles. (talk) 18:25, 27 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As basically all toothbrushes are manufactured of plastic of course it is a source of pollution. Therefore I don't find any objection against a paragraph on the environmental impact, especially if there is primary literature (i.e. scientific articles) available addressing this. Knippfisch (talk) 20:46, 17 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Chewable toothbrush[edit]

I think that the Chewable toothbrush section should not be included in this article, as it gives the impression that this novelty item is widespread, which it isn't. I feel it's borderline advertisement. (talk) 02:27, 30 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I re added it, since it´s more common than a natural toothbrush, and worth 3 lines. But I included that it is not commonly used, shortened it and moved it down while sorting the tb types by relevance descending. Hope picture layout and writing style is ok. --Saimondo (talk) 02:07, 23 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Plastic free toothbrushes[edit]

It still may be a niche market but considering recent movements towards a more sustainable lifestyle I think it is fair to include plastic free alternatives (such as bamboo toothbrushes and/or those with pig bristles). I included a short sentence under the 'Ecological toothbrushes'-section. Such toothbrushes are already sold in ecological supermarkets in Germany and on the Internet so I don't see any reason why they should be not significant. Knippfisch (talk) 20:51, 17 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ISO-16409 specifying interdental brushes[edit]

The article contains some most likely wrong information about ISO-16409. According to the article "Brushes are available in a range of widths ranked from 1 to 7, color-coded as per ISO 16409." This information entered the article on 24 July 2012‎ by a merge with the article Interdental brush. There it appears first on 12 January 2012 (Old revision of Interdental Brush), contributed by an IP.

I have personally checked the full version of original DIN EN ISO 16409:2010-06, which should be a literal German translation of the currently valid ISO-16409 from June 2010 (see [1], free English abstract, paywall for full version). I confirm that:

  • Brush size and passage hole diameter (PHD) is specified in the standard.
  • Brush sizes are specified from 0 to 7.
  • The following table is specified there (I have translated to English):
brush size PHD
0 <=0.6
1 0.7 to 0.8
2 0.9 to 1.0
3 1.1 to 1.2
4 1.3 to 1.5
5 1.6 to 1.8
6 1.9 to 2.3
7 >=2.4
  • I have not found any numeric specification of wire size in the standard. Only that it should be appropriately thick and how to test this (does not bend and fits through hole depending on brush size).
  • I have not found any mentioning of "color" or "brush color".

There is also a newer draft standard DIN EN ISO 16409:2014-06 from June 2014 (see [2]), which I do not have access to. However, it is unlikely that the draft from 2014 is basis of the Wikipedia edit in 2012. According to [3] (edit summary of DIN EN ISO 16409:2014-06 in German) brush size 8 is added and some tests are revised in the new draft.

Comparing my findings with the article I conclude that "color-coded as per ISO 16409" is wrong and the PHD values in the table were probably correct but come from an outdated standard (DIN EN ISO 16409:2007-01 from January 2007, which lacks sizes 0 and 7) and should be updated. Since different systems of color codes and wire sizes are in use, depending on the producer, I guess color code and wire size are actually not standardized.

If anyone has more information about color code (or wire size) standardization or about the latest draft of ISO 16409, I would be very interested. Currently, we are having a controversial discussion on German Wikipedia. That is also one of the reasons, why I prefer not to edit the article myself and rather post my findings here. -- (talk) 15:11, 7 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In between I have gained access to the latest draft ISO/DIS 16409:2014 considering all changes planned to be made to the standard as of December 2015. This draft has a few differences to the currently valid version with respect to the brush sizes and basically confirms the findings discussed in my above posting. Since nobody has commented on my post until now I am going to implement the necessary corrections to the article myself. -- (talk) 19:06, 20 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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No reference for "It is beneficial, when using a straight bristled brush, not to scrub horizontally over the necks of teeth" which may be decades-out-of-date misinformation.[edit]

No reference for "It is beneficial, when using a straight bristled brush, not to scrub horizontally over the necks of teeth" which may be decades-out-of-date misinformation.

2607:F380:8C9:3045:BCAE:DCD5:D6E5:DC1C (talk) 23:35, 15 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

how hygienic is brushing in bathroom when you consider toilet plumes and stuff? i believe this should be mentioned.[edit]

how hygienic is brushing in bathroom when you consider toilet plumes and stuff? i believe this should be mentioned somewhere.