The History of Toothpaste

From shortly after our first tooth sprouts from our gums as a child, we start to brush it clean from any plaque and other bacteria on a daily basis. This routine dates back to as early as 3500-3000 BC when Egyptians took a stick and frayed the end, using this as a tooth brushing tool. Some of the Tombs of ancient Egyptians have even been found to contain these toothsticks, now that’s dedication to oral hygiene!
We’ve come a long way from frayed sticks and natural pastes, and maybe even a little further than necessary. Similar to many items in our daily clean routine we’ve lost control of what goes into our products and the accepted norm has  become ingredients that are harmful to the environment and to our bodies.

The development of toothpastes started in the 1800’s and early versions took a powder form. These powders often contained common ingredients like chalk, soap or ground charcoal and many households made their own batches of tooth cleaning powder. The first commercially produced toothpaste was launched by Colgate in 1873, and sold in a jar until tubes were introduced later in the 1890’s.

In 1914 Fluoride was added to commercially produced toothpaste after it was discovered to prevent cavities. It was later added to the water systems in North America around the 1960’s. Soap was still used in the toothpaste recipes until around the 1945, when it was replaced by sodium lauryl sulphate, an environmentally harmful ingredient that makes the paste smooth and more ready to foam.

An edible toothpaste was invented in 1987 for children that were just learning how to brush their teeth and at risk of swallowing the paste that is toxic in large quantities. This paste was also used for astronauts, who were not in a position to be spitting in zero gravity!

There’s a reason the big brand toothpastes cost so little to buy, and it’s because the ingredients they choose are based on getting you that cost and making a product that markets well; foams and feels like we’ve been told it should. Natural ingredients like neem extract, matcha tea and essential oils of peppermint and spearmint are used to create our fluoride-free Mystic Mint toothpaste. Tooth Fairy approved, Mother Nature approved.

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