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A Quick Toothpaste History

February 12, 2009

The toothpaste that we use today contains a wide array of ingredients. We want our teeth to be whiter, brighter and last longer than ever before as more and more of us live well into old age.  In this article we will take you through the evolution of toothpaste!

Records from around 100 AD show that people did value oral health. Common practices were rinsing the mouth with white wine or Urine….

In the 18th and 19th century coal and bark were used to brush the teeth – Let’s see those pearly whites?

In the 20th century we evolved to powdered toothpastes that included cream of tartar, bicarb of soda and other abrasives. Towards the end of the century toothpastes started to add the things that we now know and love (?)

Sorbitol  – This is a humectant (keeps the toothpaste moist) and a sweetener.

Peg-12   – This is to bind the ingredients together into a paste.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate – This is a detergent and is used to lift dirt from teeth and hold it in the foam to prevent it from re-depositing.

Sodium Monoflurophosphate – This is the source of Fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occuring compound found in the earths crust. It has been shown to strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay. For more info on Fluoride read this link: Australian Dental Association

Cellulose Gum- This gives the toothpaste some structure. So it doesn’t fall off the brush.

Sodium Sacharin – This is a sweetener and a flavour enhanser.

Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate – This is for tartar control. It helps break it down.

Titanium Dioxide – This is to make the toothpaste nice and white.

FD&C Blue, D&C Yellow etc – These are colours (FD&C means FOOD, DRUG and COSMETIC approved).

Many people are concerned about the ammount of fluoride that they are exposed to. Fluoride is added to the water in many countries as a way of helping prevent dental disease and decay. Some people worry that they will get too much Fluoride – too much is not good and can lead to fluorosis (enamel discoloration and mottling). Others want to avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulphate which can cause skin irritation, ulcers and itchyness in some people. There are many brands on the market that avoid both Fluoride and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, they tend to be the “natural” brands. If you can’t find these near to you then why not make your own. Go to our Recipe section and look under Toothpaste!

If you do plan to change your dental routine please seek advice from your dentist or oral health professional first – We wouldn’t want you to loose them (unless you know a rich tooth fairy!)

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