The history of toothpaste is indeed very old. The earliest toothpaste use was recorded some time in 300 to 500 BC in China and India.
It is said that a Chinese man named Huang Ti studied how to take care of teeth and then claimed that tooth aches could be cured by putting gold and silver needles in different parts of the jaw and gum. It is theories like this that ultimately led to the development of toothpaste.
The first toothpaste that was known to man was made from crushed bones, egg shells and oyster shells. This abrasive mixture was used to clean particles and debris from teeth. Later on toothpowder was developed using powdered charcoal, powdered bark and flavoring agent to improve the taste. This toothpowder was applied on the teeth using a stick.
Toothpowder was used in Britain in the late 18th century and was sold in ceramic pots in form of powder or paste. The elite would use brushes to apply the toothpowder while the poor would use their fingers.
Modern-day toothpaste was developed by a dentist called Peabody. He was the first to add soap into toothpaste in 1824. In the 1850s, a person named John Harris started adding chalk into toothpaste. And the first time toothpaste was mass produced was in 1873. It was sold in jars and the smell was pleasant. In 1892, it was Dr Washington Sheffield who was instrumental in putting toothpaste in collapsible tubes and selling it as Dr Sheffield’s Crème Dentifrice.
It was only after World War II that detergents replaced soap in toothpastes after emulsifying agents like sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium ricinoleate were used.
Fluoride was added into toothpaste in the 1960s and in the 1980s calcium fluoride was added to make up the fluoride and calcium content of the toothpaste. And, this is the toothpaste that is even available today.