As one of the quintessential tools of dental care, toothpaste is a staple in virtually every medicine cabinet in the country. Humans realized the need for toothpaste thousands of years ago and have been making gradual improvements ever since. No matter the materials available at the time, toothpaste has always been vital for properly cleaning the teeth. Learn more about the origins of this powerful teeth-cleaning tool and find out how toothpaste is likely to evolve in the future.
The Original Toothpaste
Credit for the very first oral cream used on the teeth goes to the Egyptians who developed one in approximately 3000-5000 BC. Comprised of ashes from oxen hooves, egg shells, pumice, water, and myrrh, this original toothpaste did little to freshen breath but improved the user’s ability to scrape debris away from the teeth.
First Flavored Toothpaste
It was the Romans who made the first efforts to give toothpaste a pleasant taste. In addition to various flavorings, they also found new abrasives that work better for removing plaque and particles from the teeth. Among these new abrasives were crushed bones and oyster shells, both of which added thickness and abrasiveness to their tooth cleaning substance. Just because there was flavoring doesn’t mean it holds up to today’s standards – The main flavoring they used derived from charcoal and bark powders.
China Pairs Toothpaste with Mint
Around 500 BC, China and India both began to use their respective versions of toothpaste. China is credited with adding new flavors, and they were much more palatable than those used by Romans. Flavors like Ginseng, salt, and herbal mint brought new taste to toothpaste, and probably even added some breath-freshening power to the mix.
India Uses Tooth Powder
Powdered toothpaste was initially found in India, and is still used in that part of the world today. The advantage of powdered toothpaste is portability because it eliminates the need to carry a liquid. It enabled anyone to simply add water, and instantly have access to a reliable way to clean their teeth.
The 1800’s – Toothpaste is Sold in Jars
Crude solutions were used throughout the world up until the 1800’s. Around that time, new ingredients such as soap were added to improve the effectiveness of toothpaste. 1850 signified the first instance of toothpaste in jars and in 1875, Colgate began mass producing toothpaste. This decision marked the first time in history where even the average and poor citizens can have access to high-quality toothpaste.
The 1900’s – The Tube and The Fluoride
The 1900’s saw two of the most well-known components added to toothpaste: the tin tube and fluoride. While serving different functions, each of these additions catapulted the progression of toothpaste into the portable, healthy oral care tool that we have today. After WW2 caused a tin shortage, plastic became the chosen material for tubes of toothpaste, again pushing the product towards its modern form.
6 Predictions about the Future of Toothpaste
If you consider how much toothpaste has changed over the past 6000 years, it would be shortsighted to think that it won’t change over the next few millennia. From the preferred flavors and containers to additives and ingredients, there is room for every aspect of toothpaste to improve and evolve. Consider these possible changes that toothpaste might undergo by the year 3017:
- A lack of plastic opens the door for another material to form the containers.
- Flavors get much more complex and can taste exactly like your favorite foods and desserts.
- New and more potent additives may replace fluoride, boosting its cleaning power.
- As potency improves, the time required for proper brushing will decrease as well.
- Specialty toothpaste can accomplish a lot more for your teeth in a fraction of the time.
- Environmentally safe ingredients and containers will make toothpaste more Earth-friendly.
Toothpaste is Important but Visits to the Dentist Are Too!
No matter how advanced toothpaste becomes, bi-annual dental appointments are still a crucial part of your oral health. Only during a trip to the dentist can they check you for damaging dental problems, take x-rays, and deep clean your teeth and gums. At our office in Encinitas, California, we take pride in seeing each patient smile with confidence. Contact us to make an appointment with Dr. Diane Sherman and see what we can do to improve your smile today!