History of Toothpaste

History of Toothpaste

Toothpaste has become an essential part of our daily life. Even if we don't notice it, we end up using it everyday to keep our teeth healthy and strong and our mouth free from halitosis. But have you ever wondered how the modern toothpaste came to be?
WellnessKeen Staff
Toothpaste is a paste or gel that is used with a toothbrush to clean our teeth and improve oral hygiene. However, many toothpastes may contain certain chemicals that are harmful if ingested, and are not supposed to be swallowed. Nowadays, there are many companies that manufacture it. People don't consider it's features and after-use results, but are mostly attracted to its color, taste, and appearance. Modern toothpastes have many different minty flavors. People considered it a discovery in the medieval-modern era, but in reality it was developed way back in time.
Toothpastes were discovered before toothbrushes were invented. Ancient Greeks, Chinese, Indians, and Romans used toothpastes. There is a common belief that Egyptians were the first to use pastes to clean teeth, which was in 5000 BC. People used to follow various practices to keep their mouth and teeth clean and healthy like drinking goat's milk to prevent bad breath. They used ashes of burnt mice's, wolves', and rabbits' heads, ox heels and goat's feet to keep their gums healthy. Ox hooves and burnt eggshells mixed with pumice was also used. They washed teeth with tortoise's blood three times a year to prevent toothaches. Teeth problems in ancient times were mostly similar to what we have today, like plaque, unhealthy gums, bad breath, and cavities. However, the ingredients that were used in ancient toothpastes were totally different and varied. The Greeks and Romans preferred more harshness, and as a result they used crushed bones and oyster shells as ingredients. The Romans were more partial in adding flavor to the paste that prevented bad breath and also used powdered charcoal and tree bark. The Chinese were more innovative and used a wide variety of substances like ginseng, herbal mints, and salt.
In modern times, the evolution of toothpastes started in the 1800s. Peabody, a dentist, introduced a toothpaste in 1824, which had soap in it. Likewise, John Harris added chalk as a constituent to it in the 1850s. In England, betel nut was used as an ingredient in toothpastes. In the 1860s, there was a discovery of a homemade toothpaste containing charcoal. Soap was normally used as an ingredient in them until mid-1940s. Later, soap was replaced by other constituents that made a smooth paste or emulsion like sodium lauryl sulfate which is a common ingredient in today's toothpastes. The development of toothpastes in the second half of the 20th century helped in the prevention of teeth problems such as tooth sensitivity.
There was a test conducted by Dr. William Engler on 400 preschool children. He treated them with fluoride and discovered a surprising reduction in dental cavities. As a result, fluoride was introduced in toothpastes in 1950 that has proven to be helpful in the prevention of tooth decay. Many other ones with low abrasiveness were formulated, and helped in the prevention of teeth problems which were caused due to overzealous brushing. Modern toothpastes have whitening qualities and include 'Triclosan' that provides extra protection against problems like caries, gum problems, plaque, and calculus. They contain many constituents like fluoride, sweeteners, flavoring, and ingredients that make them smooth, create foam, and stay damp.
There are many toothpastes that are being introduced that differ in size, features, special ingredients, and flavors. Toothpaste manufacturing companies are developing ones that are flavored in a way that children would love to brush daily using their toothpastes. Without their development, we wouldn't be using them like we use them today.