The History of Toothpaste

Oral hygiene has always been important. As early as 5000 BC, Egyptians have used a paste to clean their teeth prior to the invention of toothbrushes.

Toothpaste is a significant component when it comes to brushing your teeth. Without it, cleaning your teeth wouldn’t be complete. Let’s reflect on the past and learn about the origin of toothpaste.

The Egyptians created the most ancient form of toothpaste. Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Indians were also known to have used toothpaste in ancient times. In the past, toothpaste was used to freshen breath, clean gums and whiten teeth, similar to how we use it today. However, the ingredients used to make toothpaste before were much different. Crushed bones, oyster shells and eggshells combined with pumice and the powder of ox hooves were some of the common elements used in the western part of the world. In the east, the Chinese used herbs and spices as their toothpaste.

In the late 18th century, the development of toothpaste became more advanced. During this period, toothpaste was made from soap, and then in the succeeding years, chalk, betel nut, and ground charcoal were added to create toothpaste.

In 1873, Colgate company commercially distributed toothpaste in a jar and then in 1890, toothpaste was introduced in a tube similar to what we see it today. In 1914, Fluoride was used as an ingredient in making toothpaste because it is known to prevent tooth decay.

Soap was one of the main ingredients of toothpaste originating from the 18th century. However, in 1945, a new component called sodium lauryn sulfate replaced soap to make it a smoother paste. Today, sodium lauryn sulfate is one of the common ingredients in toothpaste.

As years pass by, more advances in developing toothpaste have emerged. The Triclosan was discovered and used in making toothpaste to protect the teeth from caries, plaque and gum disease.

Toothpaste plays a vital role in brushing your teeth. Learning its history is essential to know how valuable it is in maintaining your oral health. If you have questions on toothpaste, or other dental hygiene products contact our dental office ToothMatters in Richmond Hill.

-Dr. Gao