Different Strokes for Different Folks: A History of the Toothbrush

Gold Toothpicks

Gold Toothpicks

One of these three gold toothpicks (A300.3a) from the Victorian era has a ring for hanging from a chain around a lady’s neck (cover missing); the other two (A300.3b, A359.1) are retractable.
University of the Pacific Permanent Collection, Donor: Herbert J. Stuart, DDS '37
Birch Toothpicks

Birch Toothpicks

Native Americans recognized the durability, pliability, and water resistant nature of birch wood, and used its bark to cover the outside of their cedar-framed canoes. Being also naturally sweet, polished birch had all the properties required to make high-quality wood toothpicks. Beginning in the late 1800s in Maine, white birch has served as a proli c source for toothpick manufacture in the United States. This box of “Silver Birch” toothpicks (A417.39) may date to circa 1920.
University of the Pacific Permanent Collection, Donor: William V. Stenberg, DDS ‘82
Stim-U-Dents

Stim-U-Dents

Bone, quills or wood likely served as the rst toothpick material. Stim-U-Dents (A403.3), patented in 1937, were used for tooth space cleaning and gum stimulation. They are sold today by Johnson & Johnson and advertised as plaque removers.
University of the Pacific Permanent Collection, Donor: Unknown