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Weird Ingredients They Used to Put in Toothpaste

Weird Ingredients They Used to Put in Toothpaste

The toothpaste you recognize in the pharmacy today is very different from what people used to use to clean their teeth. Here are just a few of the weird ingredients that were once in toothpaste that you can share with your child!

Our oral health care has come a long way, and these days, toothpaste is carefully regulated, and formulated based on scientific research to clean teeth safely and effectively. But there was a time when this wasn’t the case! The following weird ingredients were once found in toothpaste.

Salt & Iris Flowers

In ancient times, the Egyptians (the wealthy and Pharohs in particular) placed a great deal of value on cleanliness and oral health care. As a result, they were the first people to experiment with toothpaste. One version of toothpaste that was common consisted of rock salt, dried flowers, mint and pepper crushed into a fine paste with some water. Some mixtures also included ox hooves and burnt egg shells. This mixture was actually quite effective in cleaning teeth, though it did cause gums to bleed.

Ground Bones & Oyster Shells

Around the same time, the Greek and Roman upper classes would also use the Egyptian mixture, but began experiementing with their own formulas as well. In an effort to make their mixtures more abrasive, they would add bones or oyster shells ground to a fine powder. They would also include charcoal to freshen breath.


No one is really sure when or where the habit of using ground toast to clean teeth originated, but it remained a popular and affordable option for some time during the 1700s.


In the 1820s, a dentist called Dr. Peabody decided to add soap to the toast mixture to better clean teeth. Soon thereafter, toothpaste makers began adding chalk as well, to give the product the creamy consistency we’re more familiar with today.

Do you have questions about your child’s oral hygiene routine? Contact our North Delta children’s dentists today for a consultation!

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