History of Toothpaste

We may think of toothpaste as being a modern invention, however it has been around in some form for thousands of years.

Tales of tradition


According to historical findings the Egyptians were the first to establish an oral hygiene regime in around 5000BC. Ancient toothpastes were used to treat some of the same concerns that we have today – keeping teeth and gums clean, whitening teeth and freshening breath. The ingredients of ancient toothpastes were however very different and varied. Ingredients used included a powder of ox hooves' ashes and burnt eggshells, that was combined with pumice.

Introduction of flavours & charcoal powder


Ancient Greeks and Romans are known to have used toothpastes and people in China and India first used toothpaste around 500BC. The Greeks and Romans favoured more abrasiveness and their toothpaste ingredients included crushed bones and oyster shells. The Romans added more flavouring to help with bad breath, as well as powdered charcoal and bark. The Chinese used a wide variety of substances in toothpastes over time that have included ginseng, herbal mints and salt.

Throughout the years


We know that oral hygiene was a priority all those years ago. Just as today, people favoured their smile and valued the need for effective toothpastes. Here’s a brief timeline showcasing how toothpaste has changed throughout the years:

5000 BC - The world’s oldest-known formula for toothpaste was created by Egyptians. They crushed rock salt, mint, dried iris flowers and pepper and mixed them together to create a cleaning powder. Although this concoction is known to create bleeding gums, research suggests it is the most effective compared to most toothpastes used as recently as a century ago.

400 AD - The tradition of toothpaste in India is hinged on its firm background in Ayurvedic medicine. Rare twigs were utilised for brushing and every twig was typically filled with nectar that is so sweet. Through chewing the twig and gently rubbing it against the teeth, the teeth are whitened; the mouth is cleaned thereby giving one a fresher breath

1780 - People were known to scrub their teeth with a powder that was made up of mainly burnt bread. That’s right – so don’t feel guilty for burning your toast!

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 which we all recognise today.

1873 - The first commercially produced, ‘nice-smelling’ toothpaste was launched by Colgate and sold in a jar, with the promise of fresh breath.

1892 - Dr. Washington Sheffield is the first person to put toothpaste in a collapsible tube, as we see it sold today!

1914 - Fluoride is added to toothpastes after discovering it significantly decreased dental cavities, a practice that has been highly controversial in recent years.

1975 - Herbal toothpastes become 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. Targeted at children but initially created by NASA for space missions so that astronauts wouldn’t need to rinse and spit.

1989 - Rembrandt created the first toothpaste that claimed to whiten teeth.

Embracing traditional methods

At Georganics we are not looking to revolutionise toothpaste, but instead to learn from history and embrace what it has taught us. By taking the purest of ingredients and developing a formula that not only improves oral hygiene, but also reflects upon the environment around us according to our 5 core values. It is this formula that enables us to combine our product creation with organic, vegan and cruelty free ingredients, along with being a zero waste company.

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