'Kavor' hydraulically powered toothbrush, c 1932.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Made by Jenkins Productions Ltd of Dereham, Norfolk. The Chinese are credited with first using toothbrushes and toothpastes, although the ancient Egyptians also used branches with frayed ends to clean their teeth. In the West, the use of toothbrushes was not widespread until they were promoted by French dentists in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.