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Different Strokes for Different Folks: A History of the Toothbrush

    ORAL B tufts and Lucite handles

    Several significant advances in toothbrush construction occurred in the mid 1900s. In 1950, after witnessing gum damage suffered by patients using nylon bristle brushes, Dr Robert Hutson, a retired Navy periodontist, developed a softer-bristled toothbrush he named the Oral-B 60. He put very thin, flexible nylon filaments into compact tufts composed of forty bristles, and filled the brush head with 60 tufts. His tuft texture and configuration differed from other contemporary brushes where stiffer nylon bristles arranged in widely spaced tufts were used.

    In 1951, another design breakthrough occurred when DuPont invented Lucite acrylic resin, and clear plastic toothbrush handles of different colors appeared.

    Hyson, Jr, JM 2003 History of the toothbrush. J Hist Dent 51(2):73-80; “Ipana” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 23 Nov. 2016. Web. 23 Nov. 2016; Mattick, BE 2010 A Guide to Bone Toothbrushes of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corp

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