The History of Toothpaste By Dr. Pinnix on December 03, 2016

A woman holding a toothbrush with toothpaste on itDental damage and oral health issues can impact quality of life, which is why it is so important to prevent oral health problems with good hygiene. Fortunately, there are a variety of restorative dentistry treatments available to treat oral health problems. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day is one of the best ways to prevent dental damage, but what did people do before the invention of modern toothpaste? Learn more about the history of toothpaste in this overview from Charlotte, NC dentists John M. Pinnix and George A. Betancourt.

Ancient Tooth Powder

The earliest form of toothpaste was actually a powder used by the ancient Egyptians as far back as 5000 BC. This powder consisted of crushed eggshells, pumice, ash, and myrrh. The Egyptians most likely used their fingers to scrub their teeth with this powder, helping to clean the teeth and freshen the breath. The Egyptians weren't the only civilization to use tooth powders. In ancient China, herbal mints were mixed with salt and ginseng to clean the teeth. The Ancient Greeks and Romans also used a tooth powder to clean their teeth. However, their powders were significantly more abrasive than those used by the Egyptians and Chinese and were made of crushed bones and oyster shells.

Early Toothpastes

For most of its history, toothpaste came in a powder form. As late as the 1850s, toothpastes remained in powder form, commonly containing chalk and soap. It would take another 20 years for toothpaste to begin to resemble its modern counterpart when, in 1873, Colgate began mass-producing toothpaste, not powder, in jars. The first tube of toothpaste was sold more than 20 years later, when Colgate began selling toothpaste in a tube in 1896. Toothpaste didn't change much until 1914, when fluoride was added for the prevention of dental cavities. Soap remained a primary ingredient in toothpaste until it was replaced with sodium lauryl sulphate in 1945.

Today's Toothpastes

Since the 1940s, toothpaste has continually improved; now there are many varieties available to address specific needs, like whitening, dental sensitivity, and tartar control. Today's toothpaste are more effective than ever, helping to reduce tooth decay and prevent gum disease. Not only are modern toothpastes more effective at protecting oral health, they also taste better and provide longer lasting breath freshening results than its earlier predecessors.

Why Use Toothpaste?

Brushing the teeth with fluoride-based toothpaste at least twice a day is essential to oral health. Although brushing without toothpaste can help remove some plaque and food debris from the teeth, it's not as effective and it doesn't provide the benefits of using toothpaste, such as: 

  • Removes more plaque, tartar, bacteria, and food debris from the teeth
  • Enamel care toothpastes can help remineralize the teeth and strengthen the enamel
  • Control and prevent tartar buildup
  • Keep the gums healthy and reduce the risk of gum disease
  • Whitening toothpastes can help brighten the smile
  • Reduce the risk of tooth decay
  • Freshen the breath

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about protecting your smile, or to discuss your treatment options, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Pinnix and Betancourt at your earliest convenience.

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Dr. Pinnix and Dr. Betancourt

Advanced Dentistry of Blakeney

At Advanced Dentistry of Blakeney, our goal is to enhance your quality of life through dentistry. Dr. John M. Pinnix IV and Dr. George A. Betancourt are proud to be associated with a range of prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • International College of Oral Implantologists
  • Spear Study Club
  • Charlotte Dental Society
  • Invisalign® Certified Provider

For more information about our services, contact our Charlotte office online or call (704) 543-1102.

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