An Intriguing Chapter in Toothbrush History

Were you aware that one early form of the toothbrush may have been invented in a prison? The creator was called William Addis, and here is his story.

Addis lived in England. Around the year 1770, he was thrown into prison for starting a riot. While there, he watched his fellow inmates as they cleaned their teeth. They would often take rags and apply some salt or even soot to them, and then they would rub the rags on their teeth. Watching these cleaning routines inspired Addis to create a more effective tool.

He took an animal bone, which he got from one of his meals, so he could use it as a handle. Somehow, he talked one of the guards into giving him bristles, which make up the actual brush part of toothbrushes. He drilled holes into the bone, and then glued the bristles into those holes.

Once he was released, he started a business to build more of his toothbrushes and market them. That little toothbrush served him and his business quite well apparently because that company is still in operation today.

This toothbrush was the first to be mass produced. Techniques and materials have changed and improved since Addis’ time, but he helped us get to where we are today.

If you would like to learn more about caring for your teeth or feel you could use a dental checkup, our team at Gill Family Dentistry in Modesto, California, is at your service. Our dentist, Dr. Amandeep Gill, is happy to help you manage the health of your smile. Just call (209) 549-1721 to let us know if you need anything. Thank you for visiting with us today!