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Interesting Trivia about Toothpaste
Brushing our teeth two
to three times a day is probably often taken for granted. It’s
something that children actually see as a chore instead of a
privilege. Well the next time your little one is telling you they
don’t want to brush their teeth, or the dentist is lecturing you for
not brushing or flossing yours enough, think about the following and
you may realize just how lucky we are and how much easier it is to
clean our teeth, compared to what people used to have to do for
their pearly whites.
Oral hygiene is said to date back to
the age of Buddha. It’s believed that this religious figure once
used something called a tooth stick from the God of Sakka to clean
his teeth. But not everyone was privileged enough to use this stick
of the God and those were less-worthy needed to find other ways to
keep their mouths clean. Some would drink goat’s milk to freshen
their breath. Mice heads, rabbit heads, wolf’s heads, ox heels, and
goat’s feet were burnt and the ashes were spread onto the gums to
promote oral health. It’s also been said that bones could be picked
out of wolf’s waste and worn to ward off tooth decay and disease.
Another way that was thought to prevent toothaches was washing the
mouth with the blood of a tortoise three times a year. When they
weren’t using tortoise blood to wash their mouths, other rinses have
been said to contain pure white wine or old urine that was kept
specifically for washing the mouth.
The year 1780 brought about the first
actual toothpaste. The exact formula is unknown but it is known that
it contained burnt bread, which was also often eaten for breakfast
in North America. Other toothpastes included dragon’s blood,
cinnamon, and burnt alum. These three ingredients would be mixed
together and used on the teeth every other day.
By the time the nineteenth century
came, toothpaste was taken to a more sophisticated level with
charcoal being used to clean the teeth. Toothpastes started
appearing in the form of powder and this powder was used to clean
the teeth, keep gums healthy, and keep the breath fresh.
Strawberries were eaten to prevent the build-up of tartar and to
freshen the breath. In 1855, the Farmer’s Almanac ran a recipe for
toothpaste that consisted of myrrh, honey, and green sage. This
recipe was used every night and applied to wet teeth.
With the coming of the twentieth
century, toothpaste and mouthwash became closer to what it is today.
Cleansers and mouthwashes took on liquid forms and formulas used to
clean teeth became pastes instead of powders. Eucalyptus was being
added to mouthwash and chlorophyll was sometimes added to toothpaste
to give it a fresher feel.
Today’s toothpaste and oral hygiene
products have come a long way from the times of Buddha through to
the twentieth century. Today’s toothpaste often includes sodium
monofluorophosphate, colour, flavouring, fluoride, foaming agents,
detergents, and humectants. Humectants prevent the toothpaste from
becoming hard inside the tube.
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