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Have you ever wondered how people kept their teeth clean before the invention of the minty paste we love to brush our teeth with? As it turns out, many different concoctions have been used by humans over the years to clean their teeth. While some of these are pretty interesting to think about, others can be downright gross.
The first documented usage of a substance that somewhat resembles toothpaste has been traced back to the Egyptian Civilization. While toothbrushes weren't invented yet, Egyptians used a powdery mixture made with crushed rock salt, mint, iris flowers, pepper, and some weird ingredients such as crushed eggshells, powdered ox hooves, and ashes.
While these were effective in keeping the teeth clean, they could also be very abrasive and lead to irritation and damage of gums and teeth.
On the other hand, the Greeks and Romans were known to use crushed bones and oyster shells to clean their teeth. Chinese were a little easier on their teeth, using less damaging ingredients, such as herbal mints, salt, and ginseng.
You may be surprised to learn, but modern toothpaste as we know it didn't come into being until the 1850s. Before that, people were still using powdered forms of toothpaste to clean their teeth.
The first paste form of toothpaste was served in a jar known as Crème Dentifrice. In 1873, Colgate started selling a similar concoction in tiny glass jars as well. The tube in which toothpaste is now sold was introduced by Colgate in the 1890s.