Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brushing your teeth

While brushing my teeth the other day i was wondering how did toothpaste come about, i'm sure in the older times like 1800's they didn't have tubes of the stuff like we do now.

So of course I'm going to give you the history of where toothpaste came from.

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.

Around 5000 BC the Egyptians started making a tooth powder it consisted of powdered ashes from ox hooves, myrrh, powdered and burnt eggshells, and pumice. Some directions were given about relative quantities that should be mixed, but there where no instructions available about how this powder was used.

It is assumed that it was rubbed onto the teeth using the fingers, as the toothstick - the forerunner to the toothbrush - was not in use at that time.

The Greeks, and then the Romans, improved the recipes for toothpaste by adding abrasives such as crushed bones and oyster shells, which were used to clean debris from teeth. The Romans added powdered charcoal, powdered bark and more flavouring agents to improve the breath.

Few records related to toothpaste or powder then exist, until around 1000 AD when the Persians wrote to advise their people to be wary of the dangers of using hard abrasives as toothpowders. It was recommended that people used burnt hartshorn, the burnt shells of snails and burnt gypsum.

There was another huge gap in the history of toothpaste until the 18th Century, when toothpowder, or dentifrice, became available in Britain. These powders were developed by doctors, dentists and chemists and included substances very abrasive to teeth, such as brick dust, crushed china, earthenware and cuttlefish.
Bicarbonate of soda was used as the basis for most toothpowders, and some contained other ingredients that would not be considered appropriate today, such as sugar.
Borax powder was added at the end of the 18th Century to produce a favourable foaming effect.

The rich applied toothpowder with a brush. The poor cleaned their teeth with bicarbonate of soda, using their fingers.

Glycerine was added early in the 19th Century to make the powders into a paste and more palatable. Strontium was introduced at this time as well, which serves to strengthen teeth and reduce sensitivity. A dentist called Peabody became the first person to add soap to toothpowder in 1824 and chalk was added in the 1850s by John Harris.

In 1873, toothpaste was first mass-produced. It was in a jar and it smelt good for the first time.

In 1892, Dr. Washington Sheffield of Connecticut was the first to put toothpaste into a collapsible tube: Dr Sheffield's Creme Dentifrice. Sheffield's company was to become Colgate.

Despite the manufacture and marketing of toothpaste being led by the Americans, they themselves did not become regular brushers until after World War II, when returning GIs brought the habit home from Europe.

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.