Who invented the toothbrush?

Who invented the toothbrush? Surely a better person than he or she who invented the dentist. Those folks really give me a

Now don’t bristle, but that “who” will have to be collective. The toothbrush is an anonymous, evolving cultural artifact, not an invention. We begin with a twig, frayed at one end, which was a kind of ancient brush used at least as far back as the Egypt of the Pharaohs. They are still used in some rural areas of the United States.

The modern toothbrush originated in China about the time that Columbus discovered America. They used bristles taken from the back of a hog’s neck and attached them to bamboo or bone to brush their teeth. (I guess you could say it was a kind of piggyback contraption.) Europeans adopted the device, but used horsehair for bristles. Nylon toothbrushes, considerably more sanitary, finally appeared, in the U.S. in 1938.

Source: Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things by Charles Panati
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