For thousands of years, humans have recognized the value of their teeth and cared for them accordingly. Over time, our ability to care for our teeth has vastly improved through some amazing inventions. Centrifugal to these inventions is that of toothpaste. In fact, it may have the longest history of them all: Here’s a brief snapshot:
~3000-5000 BC: Egyptians use toothpaste to clean their teeth even before the existence of a toothbrush. Their formula is made from ground oxen hooves, myrrh, crushed egg shells, pumice and water. Surprisingly, it may have been effective.
~500 BC: Ancient Greeks and Romans follow the Egyptian’s suit, adding crushed bones and oyster shells to the mix for abrasiveness and powdered charcoal and bark for flavoring. China and India start using toothpaste now too, with the Chinese adding ginseng, herbal mints and salt to their concoction – probably the best tasting concoction of them all.
1800 AD: Soap becomes toothpaste’s main ingredient. The substance is sold as a powder.
1850s: A new gel toothpaste called Crème Dentifrice is developed.
1873: Colgate begins to mass produce this gel toothpaste and sells it in a jar.
1890s: Colgate converts to the toothpaste tube.
1914: Fluoride is first added to toothpaste to help fight tooth decay.
1945: Soap is replaced by other ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, which turns it into a smoother paste, making it less abrasive and better for tooth enamel.
Today: You’ll find a wide variety of gel toothpaste with various coloring, flavoring, whitening, fortifying, foaming, or moistening properties.
Toothpaste is a wonderful invention. And now, next time you reach for your toothpaste tube, you’ll remember its rich history. Would like some advice on the best toothpaste on the market or a thorough dental exam and cleaning? Please call 806-353-4361 to set up an appointment with Dr. Brent Hawkins at Hawkins Dental Group in Amarillo, Texas.