Humans have been using toothpaste for thousands of years. Even before the age of dentistry began, we have been naturally concerned with the cleanliness of our teeth and mouth. The following is a mere snapshot into the evolution of the toothpaste over time:
~3000-5000 BC: Before toothbrushes are invented, Egyptians use toothpaste to clean their teeth. Their toothpaste is made from a combination of ground oxen hooves, myrrh, egg shells, pumice, and water, which is surprisingly somewhat effective.
~500 BC: Ancient Greeks and Romans add crushed bones and oyster shells to the mix for abrasiveness and powdered charcoal and bark for flavoring. China and India first use toothpaste as well. The Chinese add ginseng, herbal mint, and salt to their concoction.
1800 AD: Soap is an ingredient. Toothpaste is usually in powder form.
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 added to toothpaste to help fight tooth decay.
1945: Soap is replaced by other ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, to turn it into a smoother paste.
Today: There is a wide variety of gel toothpaste that contains fluoride, coloring, flavoring, with whitening, foaming, or moistening properties.
Toothpaste is a beautiful thing. Now, next time you reach for your toothpaste, you’ll know that like you, it has a history too. If you would like some advice on the best toothpaste on the market as well as a thorough dental exam and cleaning, call 626-793-2273 to set up an appointment with Dr. Robert E. Hansen Jr., DDS at Hansen Dental Care in Pasadena, California.