Proof of plaque, calcified tartar, has been discovered on Neanderthal tooth fossils from 50,000 years ago. While we don’t know for sure if these first cavemen did anything about it at that time, the evolution of the toothbrush emerges here.
Assuming that early man ultimately decided that it was to his advantage attracting a mate to clean the distasteful coating from his teeth, the first attempt was to chew on and scrub them with a stick. The type of brushing/chewing stick used from different plants differs among cultures all around the world. Many of these sticks contained antimicrobial properties which increased the benefits.
Then, as the theory goes, seeing a definite advancement in oral comfort, early man persists in the habit and tooth brushing technology evolves with the addition of an abrasive material. Could be, by accident, some sand grit got into the brush when sat down on the ground, and when it was used again there was a noticeable improvement. Eventually, people used wine crystals and crushed bone particles to clean their teeth. Even today’s toothpaste contains such fine abrasives as silica, chalk, and sand.
Toothpastes continue to progress with the addition of soaps and detergents–still an important ingredient today and the reason why toothpaste foams.
The modern age of toothpaste production begins in the 1900s when chemicals such as fluoride are introduced into the mix. Several types of fluoride come about in various iterations of toothpaste. The 1970s brought in a desensitizer, and the latest major additive from the 90s was an antimicrobial.
While other additives can be found in specialty toothpastes, most all of them have these same ingredients in common. Years after the first man and woman started brushing the film off their teeth, we still see that brushing is the best way to remove plaque.
Dr. Harvey would be delighted to be your dentist. If we can help you in any way, please contact Don Harvey Dental Comprehensive Dentistry at 770-343-6565, or drop by our office here in Alpharetta, Georgia.