It may be hard to believe but the origins of the toothbrush date back to 3500 BC Babylonia. Back then you wouldn’t recognise the modern toothbrush as we know it today, but instead these ancient Babylonians used chew sticks specifically for removing bits of food that was stuck between their teeth and to generally give their teeth a good clean.
Even though you may say that these early chew sticks acted more like floss than a toothbrush, the fibrous nature of the twigs used did act in a similar way to the bristles of a toothbrush. However, the first bristle toothbrushes that more resembled today’s versions appeared during the Tang dynasty in China, and their use quickly spread around the world via the trading routes coming from there.
Floss is an invention of a relatively modern age. It was invented in 1819 by a dentist and originally used waxed silk threads to get between the teeth to remove particles that toothbrushes cannot reach.
These days if you are up with the Lark, you are more likely to hear the low hum of electric toothbrushes coming from bathrooms in your local neighbourhood. But another revolution is also underway where people are choosing to use modern water pick flossers instead of old-fashioned hand operated flossing string.
Flossing has been around for a long while now, so has been up for a makeover for some time. But how effective are water picks? Do they really work? Will people be abandoning traditional floss tape or string in favour on these new gadgets?
The pros of using a water pick
There are obvious advantages to be had by using a water pick over more traditional floss string, especially when it comes to looking after your children’s teeth. Using a water pick is much more fun than floss for one thing, so your kids may very well prefer to use one over some hard to use floss that kind of ends up becoming really yucky and smelly.
Water picks can add a novelty experience to your children’s oral hygiene that they will be happier to stick to and include as part of their regular toothbrushing routine. If your kids love gadgets, then using a water pick can keep them interested because they come with changeable heads and different water pressure options.
For adults too, using a water pick can mean your flossing routine becomes much faster as you don’t need to wrap string around your fingers and get into all sorts of awkward positions to reach between your teeth, especially your back molars. It is easy to angle the water pick head to get behind your teeth without needing to open your mouth extra wide to fit in lots of fingers.
You can also use your water pick to gentle massage your gums and help to stimulate blood flow and bring essential nutrients to the tissues for good health, repair and maintenance. Water picks are also brilliant to use when you are wearing braces – either as an adult or child. The high-pressure water stream gets behind the wires of your braces without difficulty to remove whole chunks of food that a toothbrush or floss couldn’t get to.
Dentist are now recommending that patients being fitted for braces now use water picks instead of floss in most cases, especially when using braces that cannot be removed for tooth cleaning or eating. Water picks are an ideal tool for blasting away food particles that become trapped between the brace and the tooth surface, therefore greatly reducing the likelihood of tooth decay and bad breath.
Another positive is that you can give a fantastic gift at Christmas or for a birthday when you combine an electric toothbrush with a water pick, which are much better for your health than a box of chocolates!