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Brushing your teeth is something you probably do not think about much. But, the history of toothpaste is fascinating. Who thought of it first, for example? What are the ingredients? Read on for more interesting information about toothpaste.
How Old It Is
Like a surprising number of things people think are new, toothpaste has been around for a long time. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used tooth powder to clean their teeth. These powders were made of pulverized bones, the burnt hooves of oxen, eggshells, and oyster shells. A type of toothpaste whose ingredients were unknown was created in the 9th century by an Iraqi named Zirab. In the late 18th century, a toothpaste called Sosekiko was used in Japan.
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide toothpastes, which are still used today, came into being in 1900. Even before this, in 1895, fluoride started to be added to toothpastes to give extra protection to the teeth, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. However, the use of toothpaste didn’t outstrip the use of tooth powders until the Great War in 1914.
How Strict the Standards Are
According to Murfreesboro Family Dentistry, the American Dental Association has very strict standards for what they qualify as acceptable for toothpaste, and any medical claims are fully supported by legitimate scientific and medical studies. A toothpaste that is certified by the ADA has to have fluoride, be free of substances such as sugar that can lead to tooth decay, have ingredients that have been known to support oral health, and be scientifically shown to be safe and effective. Staff members at any dental clinic will be able to answer questions about which toothpaste is best for you and your smile.
Why Fluoride Is Used in Toothpaste
Fluoride is a compound made from fluorine and another element. In toothpaste, that element is often tin or sodium. Ironically, fluorine is one of the nastiest elements on the periodic table. Pure fluorine is rarely found in nature, and if it is found, it is difficult to handle safely. This is because fluorine is an "unhappy" atom, which means it will bond to almost anything. It will even eat through glass! But, when it is joined with another element, it becomes "happy" and is extremely stable. Fluoride is used in toothpastes because it promotes the growth of enamel in the teeth. The loss of tooth enamel, or demineralization, can cause tooth decay. Fluoride’s ability to support enamel is also why it is put in drinking water.
People have been finding ways to keep their teeth attractive and healthy for thousands of years whether through powders or paste. The next time you brush your teeth, pause a moment to remember and be grateful for the history that has given you your pearly smile.
Read More Here: What's the Deal with Oral Health?
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