Toothbrushes with ivoride handles, c 1870-1920.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Two horsehair toothbrushes with ivoride handles produced by Savory and Moore in London. The Chinese are credited with inventing the use of toothbrushes and toothpastes, although the ancient Egyptians used branches with frayed ends to clean their teeth. In the West, the use of toothbrushes did not become widespread until French dentists began to promote them in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.