The Toothbrush

We all know what the movies and Western shows tell us about the old West, but what are the facts? Here, we’ll discuss what these truths are, and get a better idea of what life was like in the real West!
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ruskin
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The Toothbrush

Post by ruskin » Fri May 12, 2017 7:43 pm

Michelle P.:3710 wrote:I've often wondered about this  I always notice in the shows that take place in the "good ol' days" that a toothbrush is never really mentioned.  The Rifleman is actually the first pioneer/old West show that I ever heard mention of such a thing.

So, what about the toothbrush that Lucas McCain made for Mark that he could use until he was able to buy him a better one?  Well, as it turns out, what he made was invinted a long, long, long time ago and was actually the first toothbrush.  The Babylonians used it in their ancient history.  So, the show did their research well on this one!

But what about toothbrushes back in the 1880's?  What were the like?  Well, the toothbrush in the 18th century was a rag dipped in Sulfur oil or a salt solution and scrubbed on the teeth.  the rag would sometimes be tied to a stick so they could reach the back teeth.  At least, that's what they did in England.

In the 1800's, a common toothbrush was boars hair attached to a bone (cow bone, I've read).  And it was used to scrub the teeth with.  

But really, before dental hygene began being preached after WWII, there were very few Amricans who actually brushed their teeth!  Lucas, being the wonderful, moral and health-conscience person that he was was an exctption to this rule.  

By the early 1800s the bristled brushes were in general use in Europe and Japan. In 1857, H. N. Wadsworth was credited as the first American to receive a toothbrush patent as America entered the growing toothbrush market. In 1844, the first toothbrush was manufactured by hand and patented as a 3-row brush of serrated bristles with larger tufts by Dr. Meyer L. Rhein. In 1885, the Florence Manufacturing Company of Massachusetts, in association with Dr.Rhein, began producing the Pro-phy-lac-tic brush for mass marketing in the United States.
http://toothbrushexpress.com/html/tooth ... story.html

So Lucas and Mark used a toothbrush made from bone (probably cow) and boar hair...Pretty interesting!

Does anyone else have any knowldge of toothbrushes or toothpast from back in the 1880's?  I'm fascinated with this stuff!
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Re: The Toothbrush

Post by ruskin » Fri May 12, 2017 7:43 pm

PJH:3714 wrote:Very interesting information about toothbrushes, Michele.  I can attest to the importance of dental hygiene after WWII.  In the 1950s there were education programs in the schools about brushing your teeth.  Toothbrushes and toothpasted were give to all of us and those who didn't know how, were taught to brush their teeth.  Luckily, my mother was already making us brush our teeth, but other classmates' parents weren't.

An interesting sidenote is the development of toothpaste.  The use of toothpaste goes back to the time of the first toothbrushes.  By the 1800s, most toothpastes were powders that turned into gritty pastes when mixed with saliva (Charcoal was often used in tooth powder).  It wasn't until the 1900s that toothpastes began to resemble what we use now.
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Re: The Toothbrush

Post by ruskin » Fri May 12, 2017 7:44 pm

rooster davis:3807 wrote:I have a very old magazine where they refer to fluoridated toothpaste as 'the latest gimmick' in toothpaste ingredients. As we all know, it made a big difference in cutting down cavities, it turned out.
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Re: The Toothbrush

Post by ruskin » Fri May 12, 2017 7:44 pm

PJH:3810 wrote:Rooster, you made me think of fluoride and the great controversy of the 1950s.  In conjunction with the push for dental hygiene after WWII, there was the new idea of adding fluoride to the water supply of towns and cities to help prevent cavities.  This created great controversy across the country.  Some even went as far as to claim this was a communist plot to poison us (remember this was the 1950s).

As I remember, fluoride was added to most water supplies, no one died, and cavities were reduced.  Since my family lived on a farm, we had our own well, no fluoride, and lots of cavities!!!
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Re: The Toothbrush

Post by Morgan » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:42 am

Toothbrushes weren't really used in the US during the 1800s. This drives me absolutely nuts in period movies and TV shows because no one seems to be aware of the fact. 😒
~Morgan
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Re: The Toothbrush

Post by ruskin » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:39 pm

Bathing didn't happen too often either from what I've read. Perfume was more or less invented to cover up the smell of body odor. Could you imagine? I've gotten a whiff of people in public who donned the perfume/BO combo and it surely was not too pleasant lol. Also I read that bridals bouquets were originally intended to cover up the odor of BO... eeewwww!
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Re: The Toothbrush

Post by Deneen » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:45 pm

I'll second that - Judy! Ewwww! :lol:

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Re: The Toothbrush

Post by Jules07 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:24 am

I think the worst human B.O. Smell I ever had to endure was my step fathers. We had him to dinner once and we smelled HIM over the food! Found out by his tenent that he had not bathed in a year and a half! No wonder my mother complained about his hygiene before she died. My mom has been gone now for almost 19 years. My step father has been gone three years.

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Re: The Toothbrush

Post by ruskin » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:24 pm

Double ewww lol... there once was a fellow that we'd say was a hoarder now a days that literally was a squatter on some property near where we used to live... (he's passed on now)

Any time we had a garage sale or something for sale he always turned up to check it out... you sure did not want to be down wind of him. He was pretty ripe!!
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