Here we are again with a little throwback oral care history to spice up the juices. Our last article, the evolution of the toothbrush, was an hit among the readers so we decided to brush off the archives and take you back to 3000 BC, to discuss the earliest known origins of toothpaste.
Toothpaste Was Made Of What!
It was said the Egyptians were the first known civilization to use toothpaste for cleaning teeth, and their paste was made of salt, flowers, pepper and mint.
While the Ancient Greeks and Romans followed in the footsteps of the Egyptians, and made their own toothpaste utilizing shells and crushed bones.
Now while these ingredients are quite alarming, and differ drastically from the content of our modern day pastes, the purpose was the same. These ancient formulations were all aimed at the preservation and maintenance of our teeth and gums.
In fact, the Romans were said to have been the first to add flavoring to their paste to aide in cleanliness and fresh breath. Soon followed by the Chinese who implemented a variety of herbal ingredients.
It was not until the late 1700’s that more modern forms of toothpaste began to surface. Those forms were more of a powder at first, and were said to have featured burnt bread for ingredients.
But around the mid 1800’s we began to see toothpaste take the modern form of an actual paste. In 1824 in fact, ingredients in Europe were said to have included soap, introduced by a dentist named Peabody, followed by smooth chalk, concocted by a gentleman named John Harris.
However, the real game changer emerged in the 1850’s, with the first jarred toothpaste called Crème Dentifrice. Crème Dentifrice was invented by an American dentist named Dr. Washington Sheffield, who longed to create a product that could easily dispense onto toothbrushes. His tubed crème was an immediate hit among patients, and was said to have contained a variety of mint extracts for flavor.
In fact, Dr. Sheffield’s crème gathered so much buzz that he began manufacturing the product in the late 1800’s and started purchasing collapsible tubes to house his formulations.
The next jump in the evolution of toothpaste was the replacement of soap with other additives, to make for more of a smooth tacky feel we use today. This was said to have started in the early 1900’s, and by the time 1914 rolled around, arguably the biggest advancement in toothpaste was uncovered, in fluoride.
Although much further research is known about fluoride today, at that time, there were significant studies on its benefits for cavity prevention. And fluoride use grew so fast, it soon became the standard ingredient for toothpaste throughout the 1900’s.
Today toothpaste formulations typically include a sweetener, flavoring, and variety of ingredients that give the paste a smooth-foaming action. In fact, some specialty products such as the Brushee, even contain toothpaste specially engineered to generate less foam, so water isn’t required while brushing on-the-go.
So yes, toothpaste advancements have come quite far from the times of bones and crushed charcoal that were once used to rub against our gums. And we can be assured further advancements will continue to find their way to the surface as we see innovations in the form of gels, whitening ingredients, and user specific formulations such as sensitivity and the like.
But in a mean time, don’t forget to take care of your pearly whites NOW. People like Dr. Washington Sheffield with the introduction of toothpaste tube, and Ian Rollin Berry with the invention of the Brushee PocketSized Toothbrush, made it easy for us all to maintain proper oral care.
So there should be no excuse for you to have poor oral hygiene.
Protect your smile, grab a Brushee today!