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Oral-B History
spacer.gif spacer.gifFounded in 1950 in California, Oral-B has been providing outstanding oral care products to consumers, dental professionals, and retailers worldwide. Across the Atlantic, the German-based Braun GmbH, which later teamed up with Oral-B to create power toothbrushes, started honing its skills to create state-of-the-art small appliances more than 80 years ago. Here are some of the highlights from Oral-B:

1920s  |  1950s  |  1960s  |  1970s  |  1980s  |  1990s  |  2000s
Max Braun 19211921. Engineer Max Braun sets up a workshop for appliances in Frankfurt/Main, Germany. He starts producing radio components for the emerging radio industry. Braun's connection to small appliances is born.

1950. It all started with a dentist, back in 1950, who created the first Oral-B toothbrush and its soft, end-rounded nylon bristles. Dr. Robert Hutson, a California periodontist, designed and patented the first Oral-B toothbrush. He also created the Oral-B brand name. "The first product was known as the Oral-B 60," said Dr. Hutson, "because it had 60 tufts."

Dr. Hutson started small, with a family business. He would wrap the orders in the basement, then load them in the back seat of the car and take them down to the post office to be mailed.

The role of the dentist was critical from the very beginning. Dr. Hutson said, "I knew I had a good thing but the acceptance by the dentist was something I never expected—having a product that was accepted by the dentist and the dentist in turn told the people about it."

19581958. Braun receives two prestigious honors. The Museum of Modern Art in New York adds many of Braun's home appliances to its collection as products of exemplary design. At the World's Fair in Brussels, 16 Braun devices are applauded as "outstanding examples of German manufacturing."

1963. Braun develops a toothbrush prototype named "Mayadent," which copied the movements of a manual toothbrush. Initially a niche market, electric toothbrushes were first used mostly by trendsetters. Not until the 1970s did this form of plaque removal really take hold.

1967. The Gillette Company purchases Braun, one of the world's leading small-appliance brands. At this point, the product portfolio covers popular small appliances like radios, cameras, shavers, and mixers.

1969. As the business grows, additional sizes of Oral-B toothbrushes are added, and print advertising begins. Through the 1960s and 1970s, business continues to grow at a rapid pace. Oral-B products expand to many international markets in Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific.

Oral-B becomes the first toothbrush to go to the moon. Oral-B brushes were on board the Apollo 11 mission, the first moon landing.

19781978. Braun begins its first mass production of a power toothbrush. The D1 used the earlier technology, simulating the manual side-to-side movements. This product was sold predominantly in Europe.

1981. Oral-B's first angled toothbrush, the Oral-B Right Angle, is introduced.

1984. Oral-B is acquired by The Gillette Company, beginning a new era of investment in world-class marketing and technology. Oral-B now has the parent and the power to springboard into global leadership. The pace of new product activity, technology, and innovation picks up speed.

Oral-B takes the children's market by storm in 1984 with the launch of Star Wars®, the first successful character toothbrush for children in the United States distributed under the first Oral-B character licensing agreement.

1984Braun introduces the first power toothbrush to combine vertical and horizontal movements, a simulation of the dentist-recommended Bass brushing method. The D3 was successful in highly developed European oral care markets like Denmark, Finland, Holland, and Germany.

1986. Muppets toothbrushes and toothpaste for children are launched. Muppets toothpaste redefines the market as the first national character toothpaste for children in the U.S.

1987. The Oral-B Ultra Plus is the first new generation Oral-B toothbrush in over thirty years. Launched globally, it was the first Oral-B product designed in partnership with Braun. The Oral-B Ultra Plus was a highly innovative design that featured a rounded head, longer handle, thumb grips, and a narrower "porch," or area between the edge of the brushhead and the outermost row of bristles.

1988. The famous Rob the Dentist television ad campaign premiered, reinforcing Oral-B as "the brand more dentists use" in the minds of consumers in many markets.

1991. Oral-B combine forces to develop and launch the Oral-B Plaque Remover, the D5. It was the firstOral-B power toothbrush clinically proven to clean better than a manual toothbrush, quickly becoming a bestseller worldwide.

The Oral-B Indicator® introduces the first-ever fading bristles with patented technology: The bristles fade with use, thereby signaling the consumer when to change his/her toothbrush. The company won a first-place Edison Award for product innovation for the Indicator® toothbrush.

In 1991 Oral-B also makes its first major acquisition of the Duralon business in Chile.

1992. Oral-B introduces its prophy paste in the US dental professional market. The Oral-B Plaque Control Center, OC5, featuring a power toothbrush and oral irrigator, is launched.

1993. The Oral-B Advantage® toothbrush, with its revolutionary multilevel trim patterns, is launched. Developed in partnership with Braun, it features unique bristle patterns for effective, whole-bristle cleaning.

19941994. An upgraded, slimmer Oral-B power toothbrush, the D7, is introduced, featuring Indicator® bristles and a nonslip grip. The Oral-B Compact Interdental brush is also launched.

1995. Oral-B again redefines the children's segment worldwide with the launch of Squish Grip® and Gripper® brushes specifically designed to meet the needs of children in different age groups.

In the same year, Oral-B UltraFloss dental floss is launched, bringing innovative new flexible fiber technology to the dental floss market. And Oral-B makes its second major acquisition of the Pro business in Latin America.

19961996. Another industry first, the Advantage Control Grip toothbrush, with patented micro-textured bristles and ergonomic dual material handle, is launched, providing whole-bristle cleaning.

In the same year comes two new power innovations: the Oral-B Ultra Plaque Remover, also known as the D9, and the Oral-B Interclean® Interdental Plaque Remover. The Ultra Plaque Remover is the first Oral-B power toothbrush combining high-speed oscillating movements and a unique brushhead with Power Tip® bristles, for improved plaque and stain removal.

1997. Oral-B becomes the first oral care company to partner with the highly successful children's programmer and licensor Nickelodeon. The success of Nickelodeon children's toothbrushes and toothpaste give Oral-B clear leadership in children's oral care in the U.S. Oral-B makes a third acquisition of the Prudent business in India.

1998. This year sees the launch of three major new products, one in each core business segment: manual toothbrushes, power toothbrushes, and dental floss. First, the Oral-B 3D Plaque Remover is launched. It introduces a revolutionary new brushing technology, combining high-speed oscillations and pulsations, to provide consumers with a better clean.

Oral-B also announces the introduction of the Oral-B CrossAction® toothbrush and SATINfloss®.

2000. Oral-B announces the launch of three new power toothbrushes that extend the brand's presence across the entire spectrum of plaque removal products and offer a range of features for adults and children.

Leading the portfolio is the Oral-B 3D Excel, a new top-of-the-line power toothbrush that offers significant sensory benefits and state-of-the-art plaque removal capability. Also announced were the Oral-B Kids' Power toothbrush, designed specifically for the oral care needs of children, and the Oral-B Battery Toothbrush, offering the performance of a power toothbrush at an entry-level price.

2001. Oral-B enters into an exclusive license agreement with The Disney Company to launch a portfolio of new and innovative children's oral care products featuring beloved Disney characters. The products, including manual, battery, and rechargeable power toothbrushes, will be launched under the Oral-B trademark and will showcase Mickey Mouse, Winnie-the-Pooh, Buzz Lightyear, and the Disney Princesses.

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