It seems impossible to think back to a time before the creation of toothpaste. Before this modern-day dental hero, alternative powders, creams, and pastes with strange ingredients were used to clean teeth.


Let’s Start at the Beginning

Research suggests that Ancient Egyptians first developed a dental cream as early as 3000 BC comprised of:

  • Powdered ash from oxen hooves
  • Myrrh
  • Egg shells
  • Pumice
  • Water

Although this concoction wasn’t appetizing at all, it most likely provided some level of abrasion that was suitable for cleaning teeth. Greeks and Romans used a similar tactic, by crushing bones or oyster shells to scrap off plaque.

It wasn’t until around 500 BC, that our ancestors wised up. China and India were among the first to begin using herbs, like ginseng and salt for a tastier experience. Let’s take a look at some other significant moments within the history of toothpaste…

The Evolution of Toothpaste:

1780: There’s evidence that folks used burnt bread crumbs as a cleaning agent!burnt bread

1824: American dentist Dr. Peabody ditches burnt bread and decides to add soap to a powder blend. This was later replaced by sodium lauryl sulfate for consistency purposes, and is still present in our modern pastes.

1850’s: Dr. John Harris adds chalk to toothpaste as a cleaning agent.

1873: Colgate mass-produces the first toothpaste in a jar.

1892: Dr. Washington Sheffield invents the collapsible tube, which we still use to this day.

1914: After fluoride benefits are discovered, it is added to water supplies and within toothpaste.

1987: NASA invents edible toothpaste for astronauts to clean their pearly whites in space.

1989: Rembrandt comes out with the first toothpaste to “whiten and brighten your smile”— an innovation that is practiced among dental offices today. toothpaste

Now, we have numerous toothpastes designed for several purposes. We understand it can be hard to navigate through the toothpaste market—each brand boasting effective solutions for fighting plaque, tartar, and tooth decay. Let Denver Pediatric Dentistry help you choose the right toothpaste for your family.

Posted In: Teeth Tips