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'Super French' toothbrush with 'Tricho' toothbrush guard, United States, 1896-1905

The ‘Super French’ toothbrush is made from plastic moulded with a lion's head for decoration. When not in use, the soft bristles are protected by a 'Tricho' brand toothbrush guard. The bristles are probably made of animal hair. Nylon bristles were introduced in 1937. Daily cleaning of the teeth was not a regular habit until the early 1900s. In England and the United States, toothbrushes were provided to all servicemen during the First World War, which helped popularise their use.

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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.