Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Rotting Teeth? Pass the Toothpaste, Please
In the 19th Century, Colgate had yet to run to our rescue. There was a multitude of options to choose from though. Oh yes. The world wasn't backward by the 1800's. Nope. Tooth brushing ala charcoal was the poor man's choice. THAT brought a whole new dimension to teeth whitening.
Typically, brushing one's teeth involved "tooth powder". There were a myriad of recipes for said powder. For example:
1 oz. myrrh (fine powder)
2 spoonfuls of your best honey (This does not refer to your significant other!!)
A pinch of green sage
2 oz. cuttlefish bone
1 oz. cream of tartar
2 drachms drop lake
15 drops clover oil
By the early 19th Century, powders began forming into what we know more familiarly as "paste". Soap was added by the 1830's and chalk by the 1860's. Toothpaste wasn't mass produced until the early 1870's and it was sold in a jar, not a tube.
Ingredients like cuttlefish or charcoal were found to be very abrasive to the tooth. Over time, toothpaste gentled and grew more into what was a vague idea of the paste we use on a daily basis now.
Once again, I'm reminded of the simple little things we enjoy on a daily basis. It makes me want to mouth my minty-fresh paste a bit longer, or send a thank you card to the chemists who continue to make brushing my teeth a pleasant experience.
Your takeaway from today's little history lesson? The strawberry was considered to be a good source of breath freshening. I'd agree with that. Pass the berries, please. :)