A Brief History of Toothpaste

The toothpaste aisle at the store seems to keep getting bigger and more confusing. Gel or paste? Whitening or sensitive formula? With mouthwash or without? We’ve come a long way since the first commercially produced toothpaste in 1873.

Toothpaste sold in jars was created in the mid-1800’s and Colgate started commercial production. This toothpaste was pretty hard on dental enamel because it was full of abrasive ingredients. Toothpaste began to be sold in tubes, usually made from a lead alloy in 1896.

1914 marks the introduction of fluoride in toothpastes and as the century continues the metal shortages caused by WW II (and maybe the fact that lead leaching into your toothpaste is a bad thing) leads to the development of the plastic toothpaste tube. By the 1960’s almost all toothpaste contained fluoride and the abrasiveness had been reduced. Toothpaste makers started adding sweeteners and foaming agents and toothpastes became more like the ones we know today.

The toothpaste aisle takes up so much space that you know that this substance is a big money maker for the manufacturers. So which toothpaste is the best one to buy? It really depends on what you want and what you need.

If you want to help fight gum disease there are chemicals in some pastes that may help. If you have sensitive teeth, don’t buy the whitening toothpaste – they will only add to your sensitivity. Name brand, store brand or “natural” brand, it doesn’t really matter.

The things to look for when buying toothpaste are: approval from the American Dental Association (ADA), contains fluoride, and is made in the USA (no Chinese toothpaste). The most important part of toothpaste is using it with a soft bristle toothbrush two times per day – and flossing every day. Those two things, along with regular visits to your dental hygienist will keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

Contact Dr. John Highsmith at our Asheville, NC office today at 828-627-9282 to schedule your next visit.

Tagged with: , ,

Posted in: Oral Health

Leave a response