Ancient Tooth Care Products:
Brushing our teeth with a toothpaste that tastes good and feels good in the mouth is something we take for granted; but several thousand years ago, flavor was an afterthought. The Egyptians began brushing their teeth as long ago as 3,000-5,000 BC. Their toothpaste probably tasted fairly nasty. Imagine scrubbing your teeth with a cream made of oxen hooves ground up into ashes, myrrh (a dried tree sap that was used in perfumes and incense), burned egg shells, pumice (a lightweight, porous volcanic stone that was used as an abrasive), and water.
Many thousand years later, around 1780, one toothpaste was made from burnt bread; another was made from dragon’s blood (Someone had a good imagination.), cinnamon and burnt alum. In the 1800’s ground charcoal was common in tooth powder. The tooth powder was to clean the teeth and to freshen the breath-just like today.
Contemporary Tooth Care:
Nearly one hundred years later, in 1873, one of today’s most popular tooth care products, Colgate, sold its first toothpaste. In our lifetime, toothpastes have become very popular. Even though its ingredients have changed dramatically from what the Egyptians used, all of today’s toothpastes contain nearly the same ingredients. Many contain baking soda to help scrub the tarter from teeth, and flavoring to ensure a minty clean. Most contain types of fluoride to protect your teeth so that bacteria have a more difficult time causing tooth decay.
The Best Toothpaste for You:
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you buy toothpaste that contains fluoride and that is ADA approved because there is not much difference between toothpastes. The ADA thoroughly reviews laboratory studies and scientific data on toothpastes; so you can be sure that any toothpaste that has the ADA seal is safe to use and is effective.