The Birth of Toothpaste



Brush your teeth with ground up chalk, bones and dragons blood tree? How about burnt eggs shells, ashes or tobacco and honey? Not a chance, but that’s just what kids used over one hundred years ago! Let’s take a closer look!


If you were an Ancient Egyptian you might have used hooves from an oxen, bones or ground up burnt egg shells to carve that plaque. In Ancient Greece, marble was a common natural stone, so why not dip your finger in marble powder and scrub away or use smashed oyster shells? As time progressed in the 1700’s, burnt toast or even brick mortar was the choice of many. Even then President of the U.S., Abraham Lincoln, favoured black charcoal, who knew? Oh yummm, animals hooves, bones, brick mortar, charcoal. So many to choose from!


In all seriousness, it wasn’t until the late 1800’s to early 1900’s that toothpaste was made from a powder with ingredients such as soap, chalk or baking soda that actually smelled good or even tasted somewhat OK. And it wasn’t until 1945 soap was actually removed to introduce tolerable flavours. Maybe that’s why mom’s in the fifties would stick soap in their mouth as punishment? They knew how bad it tasted!


So, the next time you consider mint, cinnamon or bubble gum flavours to be boring or make you gag, think again! Keeping your teeth strong, white and healthier is a lot yummier now and easier than it was in the past.