Toothpaste History

In addition to the toothbrush history , the following toothpaste history will be something interesting for your child as well. This will give them more insight into the origin of brushing teeth.

The development of toothpaste began as long ago as 300/500BC in China and India. According to Chinese history, a learned man, Huang-Ti, studied the care of teeth and claimed different types of pain felt in the mouth could be cured by sticking gold and silver needles into different parts of the jaw and gum. It was theories such as these that led to the development of dental cream.

First attempts at tooth cleaning included using abrasives such as crushed bone, crushed egg and oyster shells, which were used to clean debris from teeth. Tooth powders were the first noticeable advance and were made up of elements like powdered charcoal, powdered bark and some flavouring agents. This would be applied to teeth using a simple stick.

Toothpowder or dentifrice was first available in Britain in the late eighteenth century. It came in a ceramic pot and was available either as a powder or paste. The rich applied it with brushes and the poor with their fingers.

Modern toothpastes were developed in the 1800s. A dentist called Peabody was the first to add soap to toothpaste in 1824. Chalk was first added to toothpaste by John Harris in the 1850s. In 1873, toothpaste was first mass-produced into nice smelling toothpaste in a jar. In 1892, Dr. Washington Sheffield of Connecticut was the first to put toothpaste into a collapsible tube. Sheffield's toothpaste was called Dr. Sheffield's Creme Dentifrice. Advancements in synthetic detergents (after World War II) replaced the soap used in toothpaste with emulsifying agents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Ricinoleate.

The 1960's saw the introduction of fluoride into toothpaste. This development was followed in the 1980's with the addition of soluble calcium fluoride to fluoride toothpastes. It is therefore within the last thirty years that toothpastes contains the two ingredients - calcium and fluoride. Nowadays, there are controversial views on the effectiveness and safety of fluoride toothpaste. For those who are safety concious, the use of natural toothpaste might be a better choice.

After learning about the toothpaste history, let's find out how toothpaste work.

How toothpaste work

Our mouth contains one or more of 500 types of microorganisms. Some of these, mainly streptococcus mutans, create sticky plaque from food residue in your mouth. Microorganisms in our mouth feed on left over food to create acid and particles called volatile sulfur molecules. The acid eats into tooth enamel to produce cavities while volatile sulfur molecules give breath its foul odor.

Toothpaste works with toothbrush to clean teeth and fight plaque bacteria. Toothpaste contains abrasives which physically scrub away plaque. In addition, toothpaste abrasives help remove food stains from teeth and polish tooth surfaces. Some toothpastes contain ingredients which chemically hinder the growth of plaque bacteria. These include ingredients like natural Xylitol and artificial triclosan.

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