Dropping Silk Stockings Created an Oral Health Revolution (The Pattern of Disruption, Part 7)

The Silk Revolutions

So silk was a big industry, and it was making a number of key powers in Asia rich. East Asian silk production had undergone multiple disruptions in its underlying technologies, and was according to Debin Ma of Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, the leading export for Japan and China from 1850 to 1930.

The Oral Hygiene Revolution

The first product to ever use nylon was not, in fact, women’s stockings, but toothbrush bristles. The toothbrush itself was probably invented in China during the Tang Dynasty, about 1300 years ago. Before that, people around the world used a variety of ways to clean their teeth, including sticks whose ends were shredded so that they could be used to work debris loose, and mouthwashes made with vinegar, salt, olive oil, alcohol, and a variety of other ingredients. For hundreds of years, brush handles were made from bone or ivory, with bristles made from the coarse hairs from a boar’s neck.

Silk’s last laugh

Several companies, including the San Francisco Bay Area’s Bolt Threads, are attempting to use genetically modified microorganisms to produce silk proteins.

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RethinkX is an independent think tank that analyzes and forecasts the speed and scale of technology-driven disruption and its implications across society.

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RethinkX, disruptive technology think tank

RethinkX, disruptive technology think tank

RethinkX is an independent think tank that analyzes and forecasts the speed and scale of technology-driven disruption and its implications across society.