If you sometimes get bored with the minty fresh taste of your toothpaste, think again. Looking at the history of toothpaste, you’ll find it wasn’t always a matter of good taste and fresh breath.
In 3000 BC, ancient Egyptians developed a dental cream made of oxen hooves, myrrh, eggshells, pumice and water. By 500 BC, toothpaste was used in both China and India, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that people began to use what we consider modern toothpaste. In 1780, an equally appetizing toothpaste recipe called for “burnt bread.”
In 1824, a dentist named Peabody was the first person to add soap to toothpaste, followed by John Harris in the 1850s who added chalk as an ingredient. Colgate mass-produced the first toothpaste in a jar.
Dr. Washington Sheffield, an American dentist, thought it was unsanitary for multiple people to dip their toothbrushes into one jar of toothpaste. So in 1892, he developed the first toothpaste in a collapsible tube getting his inspiration from paint tubes used by artists.
Four years later, Colgate developed a dental cream that was packaged in collapsible tubes. After World War II, advancements in synthetic detergents allowed manufacturers to replace the soap used in toothpaste with emulsifying agents that worked better. By the 1960s, fluoride became standard in toothpaste. And by 1987, the first whitening toothpaste was invented.
No matter what type of toothpaste you use today, it’s important to be consistent in brushing your teeth. Go here to brush up on proper teeth cleaning techniques. And if you have questions on what toothpaste is best, learn more about the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance program.