Today, there are many, many different types, brands and flavors of toothpaste to choose from but, have any of you thought about when and where toothpaste was first used?
Although tooth cleaning tools have been dated back to 3,500 3,000 BC when Egyptians and Babylonians made a ‘brush’ by fraying the end of a twig. It seems that it was actually toothpaste that came first!! Egyptians are believed to have used a paste to clean their teeth from around 5,000 BC. Ancient Greeks and Romans are known to have used toothpaste and the Chinese and Indians first used toothpaste around 500 BC.
The original teeth cleaners were actually powder based and made from ingredients such as powdered ox hoof ash, burnt eggshells, crushed bones, oyster shells and pumice. The Romans added charcoal and bark for flavor and the Chinese flavored theirs with ginseng, salt and herbal mints.
Thankfully in the 1850’s, production of tooth cleaning potions took a turn for the better and toothpaste appeared. Colgate started mass production of toothpaste in jars in 1873 and by the 1890’s they introduced the forerunner to today’s familiar tube.
Over the years toothpaste formulations have developed to the smooth glossy pastes that we know today. Fluoride was first introduced as an ingredient in 1914 and ever since then formulations have been introduced that treat specific diseases such as gum disease and plaque or relieve conditions such as tooth sensitivity. More recently, there has been the introduction of teeth whitening pastes.
So, what kind of toothpaste can we find today?
- Fluoride Toothpaste – This is the most important ingredient as it has been instrumental since it was introduced as an ingredient in reducing the amount of cavities. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from the acid released by the bacteria in your mouth as they devour the starches and sugars that remain in your after eating food and beverages. A point to note though is that if you live in an area where the water is fluoridated, you still need to use fluoride toothpaste. Studies have shown that toothpaste delivers a higher concentration directly to your teeth even where the water supply has added fluoride.
- Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth – Are your teeth sensitive to hot or cold temperatures? Don’t worry, there are toothpastes on the market that are specially formulated to ease these irritations. They contain special compounds such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride which over time can offer relief by blocking the pathways in teeth that attach to nerves.
- Anti-plaque or Tartar Control Toothpaste – These toothpastes inhibit the build up of plaque. This in turn reduces the toxic effects the plaque accumulation has on the surrounding tissues which reduces the chances of gum disease developing.
- Whitening Toothpastes – Bleach is not a typical ingredient in whitening toothpastes. Rather, they contain abrasive particles and chemicals that polish your teeth. Studies have shown though, before you worry, that whitening toothpastes are no harsher on your teeth than ordinary toothpaste.
There are also special formulations of toothpaste available for children and some that help patients who suffer from dry mouths. While the word toothpaste pretty much covers everything we use today to clean our teeth……it comes in the form of paste and gel AND you can actually still find powders to clean your teeth!!! Today’s products can also incorporate breath freshening strips helping to keep your smile feeling fresh and giving you, as Colgate once said “The ring of confidence”
Brand names include; Colgate, Crest, Arm & Hammer, Oral B, Biotene, Sensodyne, Close-Up, Toms and Aim.
Flavors are many and varied from the more popular Fresh Mint, Spearmint and Wintergreen; you can find Cinnamon, Gingermint, Chocolate, Oreo, Pickle, Cupcake and Bacon. As well as the Strawberry, Watermelon and Cherry flavors that are aimed at children.
Just remember that when you use toothpaste, you ONLY need a small blob, the size of a pea…..NOT the huge crested wave size strip of paste you see in the commercials!!!Then brush for at least two minutes before you rinse well.
Now………here are eleven…..
- Stops bug bites and insect sting from itching and decreases the swelling. Just dab a small spot over the area, especially overnight.
- Soothes burns if applied to affected area – NB!!! Only on burns that don’t involve and open wounds.
- Heals zits (spots) quicker, dab it on overnight, wash off in the morning.
- Get rid of stinky smells, especially garlic and onion when you’ve been chopping in the kitchen. Just scrub hands with toothpaste and smelly odours disappear.
- Removes stains on carpet and clothing. On clothes just apply toothpaste to the stain and rub until the stain is gone and wash item as usual. For carpets, apply toothpaste and scrub then rinse immediately. Use only tooth ‘paste’ NOT gel and do not use whitening toothpastes as the bleaching agent they contain may bleach your fabric too. Although the whitening pastes would be good for running shoes and sports shoes to brighten up white trim and soles.
- Removes crayon stains from painted walls. Rub a damp cloth with toothpaste gently, directly on the wall until crayon disappears.
- Cleans up silver jewelry and diamonds. Rub toothpaste on to jewelry and leave overnight, wiping clean with a cloth in the morning. For diamonds, use toothpaste on a brush and gently scrub dirt away.
- Deodorize baby bottles by using toothpaste with a bottle scrubber to clean away residue. Rinse well afterward.
- Defog goggles by wiping toothpastes on inside of a mask then rinsing and wiping the surface clean.
- Cleans and strengthens nails. Clean nails with toothpaste on your nail brush instead of soap!
- Remove soap scum from your glass shower door. Just quirt toothpaste onto your cleaning sponge. If the marks are stubborn apply the toothpaste directly to the door and let it sit for a while before wiping it off.
REMEMBER! YOU DON’T HAVE TO BRUSH ALL YOUR TEETH….
……….JUST THE ONES YOU WANT TO KEEP!