Toothpaste invention dates back to ancient Egyptians around 3000-5000 BC. Their dental cream was a powder mixture of ashes from oxen hooves, myrrh and eggshells. Water was added to create a paste. (Early brushes were “chewing sticks” – the Chinese are credited with inventing the natural bristle toothbrush using pig hair around the 15th century.)
Thankfully, brushing today doesn’t involve animal parts and improvised gravel to scour teeth!
A Timeline of Modern Toothpaste Invention:
Soap was added to dental paste in the early 1800’s, and in 1873 Colgate began selling it in jars. Charcoal and chalk were also popular additives.
1900’s: Synthetic Ingredients
Synthetic ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulphate—a foaming agent—were added to reduce harsh tooth abrasion, as were various flavorings to make them more palatable.
With the rise of consumer pastes and powders that used a variety of ingredients, the American Dental Association established a council in 1932 to evaluate the companies’ various oral health claims.
Fluoride, while introduced as an ingredient earlier, became a staple to prevent cavities after the launch of Crest by Proctor and Gamble in 1956.
2000’s: New Technology
Today there are toothpastes for every dental need. Whether you’re looking for one that whitens or one for sensitivity, there’s a paste perfect for every set of smiles.
Whatever your dentifrice, it will have some common ingredients inspired by earlier versions – mild abrasives, fluoride, detergents, and other agents to create a pleasantly flavored paste.
Good oral health needs more than just modern toothpaste – you need to use it! Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes to prevent decay, cavities and gingivitis. Happy brushing!