Toothpaste in History

Last time we discussed the history of the toothbrush, but have you ever wondered about the toothpaste you use?  Apparently toothpaste has been around for a long time in some shape or fashion, longer in fact than the toothbrush. The first formula for toothpaste was created by, you guess it, the Egyptians, in 5000 BC.  A concoction made up of crushed rock salt, mint, dried iris flowers and pepper, were mixed together which created a powder, when mixed with water, was used in cleaning teeth. Also a power of crusted oyster shells and bones was often used. But let’s not forget the ancient Greeks and Romans, who used a powder made up of ashes of ox hooves and burned eggshells and added more flavoring to help with bad breath, as well as powdered charcoal and bark.

According to spearseducation.com, here are some important dates in the history of toothpaste:

1780: People were known to scrub their teeth with a powder that was made up of mainly burnt bread. That’s right – what a lot of us eat for breakfast was once considered an effective solution for clean and healthy teeth.

1824: A dentist named Peabody added soap to toothpaste for added cleanliness. Soap was later replaced by sodium lauryn sulfate to create a smooth paste.

1873: The first commercially produced, nice-smelling toothpaste was launched by Colgate and sold in a jar.

1892: Dr. Washington Sheffield is the first person to put toothpaste in a collapsible tube. It has been suggested that this version of toothpaste is the most similar to today’s version.

1914:  Fluoride is added to toothpastes after discovering it significantly decreased dental cavities.

1975: Herbal toothpastes, such as Tom’s, becomes available as an alternative to cleaning teeth without fluoride. These toothpastes include ingredients like peppermint oil, myrrh and plant extracts.

1987: Edible toothpaste is invented. What is mainly used by children just learning to brush their teeth was actually invented by NASA so astronauts could brush their teeth without spitting into a zero-gravity abyss.

1989: Rembrandt invented the first toothpaste that claimed to whiten and brighten your smile.

The toothpastes we find today typically contain fluoride, coloring, flavoring, sweetener, as well as ingredients that make the toothpaste a smooth paste, foam and stay moist. Toothpaste in a tube, is used throughout the world.

Maybe it’s taken 5000 years, but dental care has improved as well as the taste of your toothpaste.

Is Your Toothbrush Making you Sick?

You may have heard that your toothbrush can contain germs that can make you sick.  The fact is that there is more bacteria in your mouth than anywhere else in your body, so some of these germs can get on your toothbrush when you brush your teeth.  Also, since most people store their toothbrush in the bathroom, which is a warm, moist environment, the likelihood of more airborne bacteria increases.

Toothbrush

So are there some simple methods you can do to protect your toothbrush from bacteria and yourself from being sick?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a simple regimen for toothbrush care is sufficient to remove most microorganisms from your toothbrush and limit the spread of disease. Here are some common-sense steps you can take:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after brushing or flossing.
  • After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with warm water and store it upright to air-dry.
  • Don’t cover your toothbrush or place it in a closed container until it is completely dry. A moist environment can foster bacterial growth.
  • Use a completely dry toothbrush. Everyone should have two toothbrushes to give ample time (24 hours) for it to dry out in between uses.
  • Don’t share a toothbrush with anyone. Also, don’t store toothbrushes in a way that might cause them to touch and spread germs.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months. Dentists recommend this practice not as prevention against contamination, but because toothbrushes wear out and become less effective at cleaning teeth.
  • Always replace your toothbrush after a cold or other illness to prevent contamination.
  • If you or someone else in your family is sick, that person should use a different tube of toothpaste (travel size, for example), to prevent spreading germs to other toothbrushes.

(Courtesy of the American Dental Association)

 

October National Dental Hygiene Month

October is National Dental Hygiene Month.  Two things important to good dental hygiene is brushing and flossing. Today we will focus on brushing.

According to American Dental Hygienists’ Association

Research shows that brushing for two minutes is the single most important method for reducing plaque and preventing cavities, gingivitis and other plaque-related diseases. Brushing for two minutes twice a day is crucial to maintaining healthy smiles. Proper brushing technique cleans teeth and gums effectively.

Knowyourteeth.com has some easy techniques for you to follow while brushing…

Place a toothbrush (soft, rounded, multi-tufted brush) beside your teeth at a 45-degree angle and gently brush teeth in an elliptical motion. Brush the outside of the teeth, inside the teeth, your tongue, the chewing surfaces and between teeth. Using a back-and-forth motion causes the gum surface to recede, can expose the root surface or make the root surface tender. You also risk wearing down the gum line.

REMEMBER:

Always brush two minutes, two times a day, every day! 2x 2x 1 = Good Dental Hygiene

What kind of toothpaste do you use?

There are many options when picking out a tube of toothpaste. Should you buy tartar control or maybe fluoride? And what about the tooth whitening toothpastes or maybe one with all-natural ingredients?  Do you have sensitive teeth? Although toothpaste comes in different forms, such as paste, gel or power, there are some ingredients common to most varieties.

According to WebMD they include:

  • Abrasive agents. Scratchy materials, including calcium carbonate and silicates, help remove food, bacteria, and some stains from your teeth
  • Flavoring. Artificial sweeteners, including saccharin, are often added to toothpaste to make them taste better. While many people equate the flavor of toothpaste with mint, toothpaste is available in a variety of flavors, including cinnamon, lemon-lime, and even bubblegum (for kids — or kids at heart).
  • Humectants for moisture retention. Paste and gel formulations often contain substances like glycerol to prevent the toothpaste from drying out.
  • Thickeners. Agents that add thickness to the toothpaste, including gums and gooey molecules found in some seaweeds, help achieve and maintain proper toothpaste texture.
  • Detergents. Those suds you see when you brush your teeth are from detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate.

So what toothpaste should you use?

  • Opt for ADA approval. Whatever your toothpaste needs, be sure to choose toothpaste that has earned an American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. Toothpastes that have earned this distinction have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness by an independent review board of scientific experts. All toothpastes earning the ADA seal contain fluoride — the most important ingredient in any toothpaste.
  • Be wary of imposters. In 2007, some toothpastes imported from China were found to contain a toxic substance, diethylene glycol. The FDA advises against choosing toothpaste that says it was made in China.
  • Consider your needs and the needs of your family members. As long as you select a fluoride-containing toothpaste, the best toothpaste is a matter of personal choice and preference. If you’re committed to an all-natural lifestyle, you may want to opt for ADA-approved toothpastes that contain only natural ingredients. For people trying to instill good oral hygiene habits in your children, why not choose fruit-flavored toothpastes with sparkles to entice them to brush their teeth? Some people are eager to restore whiteness to their teeth with whitening toothpastes. Others like the feeling of brushing their teeth with toothpaste containing hydrogen peroxide or baking soda.

With so many varieties to choose from you can find the best toothpaste for you and your needs.