Dr. Robert W. Hutson (1920–2001), a Californian periodontist, designed and patented a toothbrush in 1950. The application for his "Hutson toothbrush" was filed on January 13, 1950, and U.S. Patent No. 160,604 was granted on October 24 the same year. In 1958, he was granted a new patent for a "mouthbrush" having numerous fine, soft, flat-ended nylon bristles, and a similar appearance to the 1950 design. He claimed in his application that this brush was less abrasive to tooth enamel, better for massaging the gums, and more effective at picking up tooth powder than other brushes available at the time, which had coarse, angle-cut bristles.
He also created the Oral-B brand name. The first product was known as the "Oral-B 60", because it had 60 tufts. Other sizes were made with differing numbers of tufts and corresponding names. Dr. Hutson sold his toothbrush business in the 1960s, and continued his San Jose periodontal practice.
Oral-B became part of the Gillette group in 1984. Braun, also part of the Gillette group at that time, started to use the Oral-B brand for electric toothbrushes. Oral-B has been part of the Procter & Gamble company since 2006. A company representative has stated that the "B" in Oral-B stands for "brush".
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