Most people rely on toothpaste to maintain their dental health and general oral hygiene. The product helps to control and remove plaque build-up, thereby preventing gum diseases. History shows that toothpaste variants, like toothbrushes, have existed since as early as 5000 BC. Egyptians had a tooth powder that consisted of myrrh, pumice, ox hooves, and burnt eggshells. The Greeks and the Romans also had their versions. However, modern toothpaste became popular in the 19th century when the Colgate Company started producing it in bulk. Here, we discuss some interesting facts about toothpaste.

1. Romans Used Mouse Brains, Charcoal, and Human Urine as Toothpaste Ingredients

The Roman toothpaste comprised human urine, mouse brains, and powdered charcoal as crucial ingredients. Each served a different purpose: human urine was a source of ammonia that helped whiten the teeth, mouse brains were to make the toothpaste more effective, and charcoal was an abrasive.

2. Mint is the Most Popular Toothpaste Flavor

green coated wire on brown wooden table

Today, mint is the most popular toothpaste flavor in the market. The flavor was first popularized in the U.S. by the brand Pepsodent in the 1900s. Other brands followed suit after realizing how consumers loved toothpaste’s minty flavour.

3. Astronauts are Forced to Swallow Toothpaste

There are no proper waste disposal systems in space, and the environment is quite shifty. Therefore, astronauts are forced to swallow toothpaste when brushing their teeth.

4. Colgate Sells a “Black Person Toothpaste” in China

In China, a Colgate brand called Darlie is marketed as a black person toothpaste. Formerly known as “Darkie,” the brand attracted a lot of stereotypes and has been under review over the past few years. Colgate has admitted that it is working to change the toothpaste’s name and logo (inspired by singer AI Jolson) to make it more acceptable.

5. Toothpaste was Initially Sold in Jars

In the late 1800s, toothpaste companies like Colgate sold their products in jars. Dr. Washington Sheffield made the first toothpaste stored in a collapsible tube. The idea was introduced by his son, who had seen Paris-based painters use paint from tubes. Johnson & Johnson was the first toothpaste company to package toothpaste in tubes.

6. Most Toothpaste Brands Contains Silica

Most toothpaste brands contain silica, the most abundant element on earth. The silica in toothpaste is an abrasive that scrubs away stains and plaque from a person’s teeth. It is a safe ingredient approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

7. An Ingredient in Toothpaste Makes It Hard to Taste Sweetness

There is an ingredient in toothpaste called sodium lauryl sulfate, which attaches to the sweet receptors on an individual’s tongue, making it hard to taste sweet flavors. This is why orange juice tastes different when a person takes it after brushing their teeth.

8. It’s Not Advisable to Use Toothpaste to Clean Jewelry

There is a popular DIY method that entails using toothpaste to clean jewelry such as silver or gold. However, this is not advisable. Yes, toothpaste can clean jewelry, but can cause significantly more damage. Jewelry made of gold and silver is soft and can be easily scratched by toothpaste.

9. Whale Milk Has a Similar Consistency to Toothpaste

Whale milk has a fat concentration of 35% to 50%, making it as thick as toothpaste. The consistency of whale milk is crucial as it allows it to pass through water without disintegrating.

10. Aloe Vera Toothpaste Has Significantly Less Abrasives

green aloe vera plant

According to research, Aloe Vera toothpaste has significantly fewer abrasives than most regular toothpaste brands. This makes the variant gentler for teeth and is an ideal option for those who have sensitive teeth. It minimizes inflammation while protecting gums from harmful bacteria.

11. Toothpaste Shouldn’t Be Used to Clean Prescription Glasses

There is a common misconception that toothpaste can clean scratches on prescription glasses. The truth is that toothpaste, through its abrasive particles and other ingredients, can further damage the lenses of prescription glasses.

12. There Was a Radioactive Toothpaste

In the 1920s and through World War II, a radioactive toothpaste called Doramad was manufactured by a company called Auergesellschaft from Berlin, Germany. It contained thorium, a radioactive metal, which the manufacturer considered suitable for the gums and fighting bacteria.

13. Not All Toothpaste Contain Fluoride

Many toothpaste manufacturers add fluoride to their toothpaste. However, this is not the case for all of them; some don’t include fluoride as part of their ingredients. Alternatively, the products include xylitol, which the manufacturers claim is just as good if not better than fluoride. Simply read the ingredients on toothpaste tubes to know whether they contain fluoride.

14. Kid’s and Adult’s Toothpaste are Not the Same

Kid’s toothpaste often contains low amounts of fluoride and other similar ingredients to prevent a condition called fluorosis. As such, it is not recommended for children to use the same toothpaste as adults.

15. Toothpaste Expires After 2 Years

Although toothpaste appears to be a non-perishable product, it is! Most products expire after about two years from the manufacturing date.


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Last Update: March 8, 2024