History of Toothpaste

A blue tube of partially-squeezed of toothpaste against a white background

Humans have been striving for clean and sparkling teeth for centuries, but toothpaste has evolved quite a bit to become the modern-day tube you squeeze from twice every day. Read on for a brief overview of the history of this essential oral care tool.

Ancient Toothpaste

Every wonder how humans got by without modern dentistry? We know that people were innovating with dental care as early as 5,000 B.C. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all concocted their own tooth powders containing various abrasive ingredients, such as pumice, ground egg shells, and crushed oyster shell, in an attempt to clean their teeth. Eventually, they added flavoring, such as mint, salt, and peppercorn.

Introducing the Tube

For a long time, few advancements were made in the development of toothpaste. In fact, up until the Victorian Era, people were still largely improvising and using powders to clean their teeth, with ingredients such as chalk, soap, and even soot. It wasn’t until the late 1800s when, thanks to Colgate, a creamy formula appeared on the market. Crème Dentifrice was packaged in jars that people would dip their toothbrush straight into–not exactly sanitary. The product soon evolved to be sold in collapsible tubes, bringing us one step closer to the toothpaste we see on shelves today.

The 20th Century to Today

By the turn of the 20th century, toothpaste was being sold in lead tubes, said to be inspired by artist’s paints. In the early years of tubed toothpaste, the formula actually contained soap. Over the decades, toothpaste was tweaked based on a variety of societal and technological changes. WWII rationing and the discovery of the dangers of lead brought us the plastic tube. With scientific research, clinical studies, and advancements, ingredients like fluoride and whitening agents were understood to be safe and beneficial to the teeth, and became staple components in the formulas you see today.

Need Help Choosing the Right Toothpaste for Your Smile?

Toothpaste has come a long way since ancient times and the result is a whole aisle full of options offering different ingredients, flavors, and effects. If you’re stumped when it comes to choosing a toothpaste, we’re here for you! At your next appointment, ask us for specific dental product recommendations to meet your unique dental needs. A member of the team here at Royal Lane Dental Center will be happy to help you choose the toothpaste that’s just right for your teeth.

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Royal Lane Dental Center

Royal Lane Dental Center