Here at our Nashville dental practice, we see thousands of patients who use modern oral health products like toothpaste every day to care for their teeth. As patients use these products, very few people consider their origins. However, people in the past used all sorts of strange ingredients to clean their teeth and freshen their breath. This blog will talk about the brief history of toothpaste and how it has changed throughout history.
How Toothpaste Started
Thousands of years ago, people noticed decay and food particles building on teeth. To combat this, they created recipes for a tooth cleaning product that would later become toothpaste. The first products were designed to scratch or grind against the surface of teeth to remove food particles, plaque, and other build-up. As such, the first ingredients included; ox hooves, sand, ashes, burned eggshells, and pumice.
Meanwhile, in the Far East, people began mixing ginseng and mint herbs with their abrasive toothpaste to improve the taste, freshen breath, whiten teeth, and help create healthier gums. However, even with the numerous improvements to flavor and oral health properties, only a small portion of the world’s population used toothpaste on a regular basis.
Before modern-day toothpaste, most people used a powder to clean their teeth. The powder was usually sold in small tins and patients needed to add water for a paste-like texture. This was used to dip the toothbrush in and brush against teeth. Next, baking powder became a common tooth cleaner for its wonderful cleaning and deodorizing properties. And lastly, charcoal was also a popular ingredient in many homemade toothpaste recipes.
Commercially Manufactured Toothpaste In Glass Jars
The first commercially produced toothpaste appeared in the French market in the 1850s. The Colgate company introduced their own brand of toothpaste in 1873 shortly after. Interestingly enough, packaging for toothpaste was small glass jars. Tubes like the ones we use today only became common around the turn of the century. And even then, the tubes were metal and not soft plastic like we use today.
Whiskey Flavoring In Toothpaste?
When we think of the fifties, many people consider a kind of glamorous lifestyle where couples had a cocktail every night before dinner. While it is true that the fifties brought about many significant changes, there were some that turned out to be ill-conceived. One of these developments was toothpaste with whiskey flavor. Can you imagine brushing your pearly whites with alcoholic flavored paste? This trend quickly faded as soldiers from WWII came home and found more important interests like home and family.
Dental Hygiene In Modern Times
Despite the many results of WWII, one of the most significant was that soldiers began to practice dental hygiene around that time. This trend was due in large part to military regulations. As part of the required daily regime, many soldiers were ordered to brush their teeth regularly. Brushes and paste were provided. Fortunately, many soldiers kept the oral hygiene habits after returning home and modern day dentistry was born.
New Ingredients In Toothpaste
The 1950s brought about the inclusion of sodium lauryl sulphate as a common ingredient in mass-produced toothpaste. Why would such an ingredient be added? Sodium lauryl sulphate is the agent that gives toothpaste its foaminess when it reacts with saliva in your mouth. Another interesting ingredient that was added to toothpaste in modern times was a form of titanium. This particular ingredient gave toothpaste the bright, white color that was so popular in mass-produced products during the last few decades.
Today, toothpaste can be bought in all kinds of flavors from mint to bubblegum, to unflavored. So when you are standing in front of your sink, be grateful you don’t have to use sand, eggshells, or hooves to keep your teeth clean!
Try Dentistry Of Nashville For All Your Dental Needs
Stop hiding your smile because of less-than-perfect teeth and fix them with great products from our dental practice! If you live in the Nashville, TN area and beyond, Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming may be able to restore a brilliant smile in just a few short office visits. There is no time like the present to get a healthy and happy smile with Dentistry of Nashville. So give us a call today to get started.