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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 have used in the past 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! These days, toothpaste is carefully regulated, and formulated based on scientific research to clean teeth effectively and safely. However, 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 Pharaohs in particular) placed a great deal of value on cleanliness and oral health care. As such, 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 even included ox hooves and burnt egg shells. This mixture was actually very effective in cleaning their 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 soon began experimenting with their own formulas as well. In an effort to make their mixtures even more abrasive, they would add bones or oyster shells ground to a fine powder. Often they would also include charcoal to freshen breath.


No one is really sure when or where the idea 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 by the name of 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 familiar with today.

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

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