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Toothbrush with horsehair bristles, London, England, 1870-1920

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The toothbrush bristles are made from horsehair and would have been quite harsh on the teeth and gums. Modern toothbrushes use nylon. Sold by Savory & Moore, a manufacturing chemist based in London, the handle is made from ivoride (a plastic imitation of ivory). The toothbrush is pictured with a smaller toothbrush (A616310).

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    Glossary: hygiene

    The science of health and how to maintain it. A condition or practice which promotes good health. The definition varies widely and differs across cultures.

    Glossary: toothbrush

    Small brushes, with long handles, for cleaning the teeth. A variety of oral hygiene measures have been used since before recorded history. This has been verified by various excavations done all over the world, in which tree twigs, bird feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills that had been used to clean or brush ones teeth were recovered.

    Glossary: dentistry

    The study, treatment and management of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, gums, teeth and their supporting tissues.