A variety of oral hygiene measures have been implemented since before recorded history. This has been verified by different excavations done all over the world, in which chew sticks, tree twigs, bird feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered. The earliest toothbrush recorded in history was made in 3000 BC, a twig with a frayed end called a chew stick.
Various forms of toothbrush have been implemented. Indian medicine (Ayurveda) used the twigs of the neem or banyan tree to construct toothbrushes and other oral-hygiene-related products for millennia. The end of a neem twig is chewed until it is soft and splayed, and it is then employed to brush the teeth. In the Muslim world, chewing miswak, the roots or twigs of the Arak tree (Salvadora persica), which have antiseptic properties, is a regular practice. Rubbing baking soda or chalk against the teeth has also been regular practice in history.
In 1223, Japanese Zen master Dogen Kigen recorded on Shobogenzo that he saw monks in China brush their teeth with brushes made of horse-tail hairs attached to an ox-bone handle.
For the origin of modern toothbrush the Chinese have implemented the bristle toothbrush since 1498, during the reign of the Hongzhi Emperor (r. 1487–1505) of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). It is thought that the Chinese type of the toothbrush spread to Europe, brought back from China to Europe by travellers. This is the origin of today's toothbrush. The toothbrush was not mass-produced until 1780, when they were marketed by a William Addis of Clerkenwald, England.
The earliest identified use of the word toothbrush in English was in the autobiography of Anthony Wood, who wrote in 1690 that he had purchased a toothbrush from J. Barret.
Like I said, William Addis of England is believed to have produced the earliest mass-produced toothbrush in 1780. In 1770 he had been jailed for causing a riot; while in prison he decided that the method used to clean teeth – at the time rubbing a rag with soot and salt on the teeth – could be improved, so he took a small animal bone, drilled small holes in it, obtained some bristles from a guard, tied them in tufts, pulled the tufts through the holes on the bone, and glued them. He soon became very successful. He died in 1808, and left the business to his eldest son, also called William; the company continues to this day by the name of Wisdom Toothbrushes. By 1840 toothbrushes were being mass-constructed in England, France, Germany, and Japan. Pig bristle was implemented for cheaper toothbrushes, and badger hair for the more expensive ones.
The first patent for a toothbrush was by H. N. Wadsworth in 1857 (US Patent No. 18,653) in the United States, but mass production in the USA only began in 1885. The rather advanced design had a bone handle with holes burrowed into it for the Siberian boar hair bristles. Animal bristle was not an ideal material as it holds bacteria and does not dry well, and the bristles often fell out. In the USA brushing teeth did not become a daily thing until after World War II, when American soldiers had to clean their teeth daily.
Natural animal bristles were exchanged by synthetic fibers, usually nylon, by DuPont in 1938. The first nylon bristle toothbrush, constructed with nylon yarn, went on sale on February 24, 1938. The first electric toothbrush, the Broxodent, was created in Switzerland in 1954.
In January 2003 the toothbrush was selected as the number one invention Americans could not live without by the Lemelson-MIT Invention Index.