Curiosities | What is the origin of toothpaste?

toothpaste origin

Toothpaste is a key product in our daily oral hygiene routine, would you like to know who invented toothpaste?

Although today taking care of our teeth is very simple using a toothbrush and adequate toothpaste, there was a time when toothpaste did not exist.

To know the origin of toothpaste we have to go back to ancient Egypt.

There, there is knowledge that royals used a substance called ‘clister’ to clean their teeth.

The ‘cluster was a very abrasive product with an intense flavour made up of powdered pumice, salt, pepper, water, ox hooves, eggshell and myrrh. In addition, on some occasions and in order to prevent bad breath and keep teeth white, mint flowers and leaves were included in its composition.

Then, in 550 BC. In ancient Persia, the act of cleaning the teeth was also very common.

At that time, the mixture used for this hygiene practice was made by mixing borated water and a tincture, something that was applied to the teeth and gums with a brush.

Beyond this time, in the Greco-Roman civilization of the 1st century BC. cleaning the teeth was a common practice.

In this sense, and although human urine was even used due to the bleaching properties of the ammonia it contains, it was Escribonius Largus, a Roman doctor, who, it is believed, invented the first toothpaste, a product whose objective was to clean teeth.

This toothpaste was made up of a mixture of honey, vinegar, crushed glass and salt, and was applied to the teeth using a cotton cloth.

On his part, the Greek botanist Dioscorides indicates in his treatise Corpus Hipocraticum the existence in Rome of a type of toothpaste made from women’s milk.

In addition, the poet Marcial relates that his dentist, Cascellius, provided him with very similar substances for his oral hygiene.

If we look at ancient China, we find how the dentists of the time invented a kind of toothbrush made up of bones and fish bones.

Meanwhile, the medieval Arabs used a mixture of pumice stone and very fine sand as part of their oral hygiene, although later they learned that this practice and product were very abrasive and damaged the enamel of their teeth.

In the Muslim Spain of the eleventh century, the Toledo doctor and botanist Ibn Wafid, gave, wrote in his Book of the pillow or Kitab al-Wisad, a recipe to make a toothpaste composed of: “Mint leaves, basil, quince, peach, with a double quantity of rose leaves, and Toledo soap soil plus citron leaves: everything is pulverized, sieved and used “.

However, in the Middle Ages it was not common for people to clean their teeth. And it is that this sanitation was a practice carried out by the “dentists”.

Finally, modern toothpastes have their origin in the 18th century. The father of this modern toothpaste, much closer to what we know today, was a dentist named Peabody, and the first paste packaged in a ceramic box appeared in Great Britain at the end of that century.

What did you think about this curiosity? Do you want to know more about your oral hygiene? Keep reading our Healthy Smiles blog every week

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