Toothpaste is an integral part of the oral hygiene. It is a creamy or a gel formulation containing active ingredients that remove plaque and food from tooth enamel and interdental spaces.
The earliest evidence of a toothpaste date back to 5000 years ago. Ancient Chinese and Egyptians mixed powdered twigs with water, salt, wet mint leaves and flower petals. They applied the formed thick paste with fingers or with the help of bamboo leaves on their teeth for the treatment of gingivitis.
The ancient Greeks and Romans, and then the Persians, improved the toothpaste recipe, by adding various abrasives such as crushed bones or oyster shells to assist the cleaning process.
The history of toothpaste in the Middle Ages is unclear, although it is known that people continued to use all possible means to maintain their oral hygiene. An information about the toothpaste appeared again in 1780, when the first real toothpaste was created. Its formula contained burnt bread, resin, cinnamon and certain chemicals.
Almost at the same time, doctors, dentists and chemists represented a new type of toothpaste in the form of powder, including abrasives such as crushed bricks, charcoal or porcelain. With the addition of glycerol at the beginning of the 19th century the powder was transformed into a paste. Toothpaste in a jar appeared a little later and came into general use.
In 1892, the American physician Washington Sheffield invented the first toothpaste in a tube and set the beginning of a new production wave. The toothpaste, however, became really popular only after World War II and its formula continued to evolve. Fluorine- a new type of active ingredient, strengthening the tooth enamel, was added to the toothpastes in 1950. Five years later the first toothpaste with colored stripes was manufactured.
Modern toothpastes are clinically tested and consistent with all needs of the oral cavity, including teeth whitening and fresh breath. Quite often the toothpastes’ formulations contain sodium bicarbonate and hydrogen peroxide, mixed with fluorine for better protection of the teeth against caries. There are also herbal products with xylitol as active ingredient and toothpastes intended to treat specific dental problems such as gingivitis and periodontal disease.