Did you know that we humans have been cleaning our 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 the invention of the toothbrush, Egyptians rub a teeth-cleaning concoction on their teeth made from a combination of ground oxen hooves, myrrh, egg shells, pumice and water. Surprisingly, this may have been somewhat effective.
~500 B.C.: Ancient Greeks and Romans imitate the Egyptian formula, adding crushed bones and oyster shells for abrasiveness and powdered charcoal and bark for flavoring. China and India also start using it. 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 offered 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 use the toothpaste tube instead of the jar.
1914: Fluoride is added to toothpaste to help enamel fight tooth decay.
1945: Soap is traded for other ingredients like sodium lauryl sulphate, turning 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 monumental invention with an interesting history. Would you like some advice on the best toothpastes to buy or a thorough dental exam and cleaning? Just call 706-769-1659 to set up an appointment with Dr. DeAnn Harmon-Smith at Oconee Dental, PC in Watkinsville, Georgia.