Brushing and flossing is part of every day life, and always has been. The earliest toothbrushes were small twigs mashed at one end for better cleaning. Roman nobles had their teeth cleaned by special slaves. The bristled brush we’re more familiar with was probably invented by the Chinese, and it was exported to Europe during the seventeenth century. It became very popular with French dentists. Over the next century tooth brushing caught on in North America, and eventually nylon replaced natural bristles in toothbrushes.
After World War II, Swiss inventors developed the first electric toothbrush, introduced in North America in 1960. What must have seemed like a very strange machine at the time became an immediate success, and today there are about 3,000 toothbrush patents. Oh, the wonders of evolution!