The history of toothpaste and how we got to where we are
An introduction to toothpaste, where it came from, what we use it for, and other options available now.
Toothpaste- a humble staple in every bathroom cupboard but where did it come from?
Usually found in a paste or gel format, toothpaste is used to promote oral hygiene and to aid in the removal of plaque and food whilst helping to prevent tooth decay and bad breath.
Around 7000 years ago, the Ancient Egyptians made toothpaste from the ashes of ox hooves, powdered egg shells, pumpice, and myrrh. Not to flavoursome or effective, the Greeks and then the Romans bettered the recipes by adding in crushed bones and powdered oyster shells. By the 9th Century AD, the Iraqi’s were using toothpaste that was supposedly “functional and pleasant to taste” yet little is known about what exactly was in it. In Japan, by 1969, both powders and pastes were used to clean teeth and it often came packaged in a little rectangular box.
By the 19th Century, the Brits were using tooth powders that included powdered brick, chalk, and salt and by the mid 1800s, they had started introducing charcoal into the mix as well. Other ingredients that were used included dragons blood (a type of resin), cinnamon, burned alum, and even breadcrumbs. Thankfully, by the 1900s, a paste made of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide was being used with toothbrushes . By 1908 the first tube of commercial toothpaste was on the market after 17 years of tests, development and clinical trials.
Fluoride then started being added into the mix due to its ability to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay but in the 1980s fluoride replacements known as biomimetic hydroxyapatite which repairs tooth enamel.
Today, not everyone wants to use commercial toothpaste that comes in plastic tubes using plastic 4 which is an aluminium plastic composite. Whilst they are are recyclable, they are hard to recycle and often go into general waste meaning they ultimately end up in the environment. Once there, they take decades and even centuries to break down.
At Peace With The Wild we have brought together a selection of natural toothpastes including tabs- some with fluoride and some without fluoride, to suit your needs.