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Toothbrush with ivoride handle, London, England, 1870-1920

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Since 1800, the toothbrush has been the most popular way to clean the teeth. Sold by Savory & Moore, a manufacturing chemist based in London, the handle is made from ivoride (a plastic imitation of ivory). The circular head is made from bristles, which probably came from animal hair. Modern toothbrush heads are made from nylon. The toothbrush is pictured with a larger toothbrush (A616311).

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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.