Dear Life-Like Dentists:

Below is the stock dental marketing content for October 2016.  You can use this content for your blog and newsletter. Making a purchase from Life-Like Cosmetic Solutions this year grants you a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use this content with your marketing efforts. Simply change “Acme Dentistry” to your office name, add a teeth whitening offer, and you’re ready to go. If you have a question, please do not hesitate to contact us, and Happy Marketing!

– The Life-Like Staff


Happy Halloween from the dental professionals at Acme Dentistry! This is a fun and scary time of year that is filled with ghosts, goblins, hayrides and haunted houses.  We thought we would share a few scary dental facts with you this month about some of the ways people from around the world brush their teeth.

Most people in the world don’t use modern synthetic brushes or mass-produced toothpaste. Instead, they rely on traditional techniques developed centuries ago or don’t brush at all. Here’s a look at what people used before the modern toothbrush was invented:

  • Sticks and leaves were used by many ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Indians.
  • Animal hairs, such as bristles from wild boars were used by ancient Chinese cultures. Monks were recorded to have used horse-hair and ox-bone handle brushes.
  • Iron filings dissolved in water mixed with plant tannins were used by some Japanese people to blacken their teeth; this created a protective layer and symbolized status.
  • A paste of crushed oyster shells and bones was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Many cultures have also used the following tools and substances to clean their teeth in the past:

  • Porcupine quills.
  • Feathers.
  • Rough cloth.
  • Handles made of bone, wood and ivory.
  • Pastes made from animal hooves, egg shells, burned spices, salt, chalk, ash, charcoal, sage, pepper and peppermint.

How do people around the world brush their teeth today?

Today many cultures, especially indigenous tribes and rural communities, use similar techniques. In various parts of the world, including Africa and Asia, people use sticks and twigs with the ends softened and splayed. This paper about cultural factors on health finds that:

  • Some African and Muslim cultures use a Miswak, a stick which contains high levels of fluoride and therefore prevents cavities. They also practice gum massaging and use tooth picks.
  • Hindu priests in Varanasi, India, clean their teeth with cherry wood and make a point of doing so for an hour each day while facing the sun rise.
  • Arad Bedouin tribes use antiseptic twigs from Arak trees to clean with.
  • In rural regions of India people use wood from mango, coconut or cashew-nut trees to clean their teeth.
  • In rural Africa, Southeast Asia, India and South America people use brick, mud, salt, ash, and charcoal or rangoli powder as toothpaste.

It’s not just developing countries that have questionable dental habits though. A Bupa survey recently found that over a third of British people don’t use toothpaste when they brush and a study from the Chinese Preventative Medicine Society claims that half a billion people in China never brush their teeth. In the US, almost half of the population over 30 is suffering from some level of gum disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When was the modern toothbrush invented?

According to this History of Dentistry and Dental Care, the western toothbrush as we know it is a fairly modern invention:

  • Toothbrushes became popular in Europe at the end of the 17th Century.
  • Brit Thomas Addis made the first mass-produced brush after experimenting with bristles of boar hair in 1780.
  • In the USA soldiers were taught to brush everyday during military service and they carried this on after WW2, when it became commonplace.
  • Colgate first mass produced toothpaste in a jar in 1873.
  • In 1892, Dr Washington Sheffield from America made the first collapsible toothpaste tube.
  • Dupont made the first nylon bristle brushes in 1938.
  • The first electronic toothbrush was made in 1939 in Switzerland.

So, around the world brushing your teeth can mean anything from scrubbing with a stick to rubbing your teeth with charcoal or having a whiz around with an electric toothbrush. While cultures which don’t have a sugary, processed diet might be able to maintain healthy teeth using just a twig, a western diet requires brushing and flossing twice a day with a modern brush.

Contact our dental office with any questions you have about Halloween and your children’s teeth, diet, cosmetic dentistry, oral hygiene, or dental teeth whitening. We hope you will consider discussing the benefits of teeth whitening with our dental professional, and wish your family a very Happy Halloween!