Rethinking the Toothbrush Again (and Again) (and Again)

If you had to guess how many toothbrush patents were registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2012, how many would you say?

30? 40?

Try 138.

A recent NPR story revealed that as of Christmas Day, 2012, there were 138 different toothbrush patents issued in 2012. Those familiar with the toothbrush aisle at the local drugstore may find this hard to believe. After all, how many different ways can someone actually brush their teeth?
Lots, say designers and inventors.

The very first toothbrush patent was issued before the Civil War in 1857 to H.D. Wadsworth of Washington D.C. In truth, Wadsworth’s design doesn’t look much different from the toothbrushes we use today.

However, there have been some pretty big advances. Forty years ago, for instance, we didn’t have electric toothbrushes. And we’re no longer using the Siberian boar hair bristles that Wadsworth’s toothbrush called for.

Some of the toothbrush designs highlighted in the story include an electric toothbrush that alternates rotation speeds depending on which part of the mouth you’re brushing, a disposable toothbrush with built-in toothpaste (just add water), and a toothbrush with bristles angled at 45 degrees from the brushing surface (invented by a Houston-area dental hygienist).

Unfortunately here at Greenspoint Dental we don’t have any toothbrush inventors on staff. But we can offer you some great tips on how to get the best results from your standard drugstore toothbrush. Give us a call today to set up a Houston dental checkup and teeth cleaning appointment.