Human beings have been cleaning their teeth for thousands of years. Before dental science existed, people understood the virtues of a clean smile. The following is a glimpse into the development of the toothpaste throughout the ages:
~3000-5000 B.C.: Before toothbrushes were created, Egyptians rubbed toothpaste on their teeth. This toothpaste was made from a combination of ground oxen hooves, myrrh, egg shells, pumice and water and surprisingly, it may have been somewhat effective.
~500 B.C.: Ancient Greeks and Romans copy the Egyptian formula and method, adding crushed bones and oyster shells for abrasiveness and powdered charcoal and bark for flavoring. China and India discover toothpaste at this time as well. The Chinese use ginseng, herbal mints and salt in their version, likely the best tasting version.
500 B.C.-1800 A.D.: The development of toothpaste remains rather stagnant and is only available to the rich.
1800s: Soap becomes a main ingredient and is usually sold in powder form.
1850s: A new gel toothpaste called Crème Dentifrice is developed.
1873: Colgate begins to mass produce this gel toothpaste and sell it in a jar.
1890s: Toothpaste sellers begin to convert to the toothpaste tube.
1914: Fluoride is added to toothpaste to help our enamel fight tooth decay.
1945: Soap is traded for other ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulphate, to turn it into a smoother paste.
Today: There is a wide array of gel toothpastes that contain fluoride, coloring, flavoring, with various whitening, foaming, or moistening properties.
Toothpaste is a beautiful and important invention with a fantastic history. Would you like some advice on the best toothpastes on the market? How about a thorough dental exam and cleaning? Just call 208-357-7611 to set up an appointment with Dr. Bryce Hanson at River Valley Dental in Shelley, Idaho.