Historically, a wide variety of substances have been used to clean the teeth. Powdered bone, cinnamon, herbs, chalk, ground up shells… the list goes on! Tooth powders, such as those made with calk or baking soda, were more popular than toothpastes until about 100 years ago.
Toothpaste was sold in jars prior to the late 1800s, when the early versions of the collapsible, squeezable tube we are so familiar with was first invented. Nowadays you can also find it in pump dispensers.
Although mint is the most common flavor for toothpaste (and many people in North America will tell you there IS no other flavor!), there are a few other options for standard toothpaste on U.S. store shelves, most notably cinnamon. In the kid’s section you can even find flavors such as strawberry and bubblegum, among others. In our office we carry the specialty paste MI Paste with Recalcident™ (which can help remineralize teeth), it comes in flavors such as melon and vanilla. In other counties you may find the likes of anise, clove, and licorice-flavored toothpastes!
For the most part, quantity of toothpaste used with each brushing varies from person to person as matter of personal preference and/or the instructions provided by a dentist or dental hygeinist. Many people love a nice half-inch or so strip or swirl of paste that covers the length of the brush, while for others a smear or pea-sized drop will do. Certain special toothpastes are to be used only in small pea-sized amounts, and children should only use a smear or pea-sized amount.
Toothpaste needs to be spit out, but astronauts sometimes use a special ingestable toothpaste since they do not have sinks and running water to make brushing teeth quite the same as on Earlth… otherwise they can spit into a washcloth.
There you have it- a little collection of obvious and not-so-obvious toothpaste tidbits. Tooth brushing is such a familiar activity that we sometimes forget to stop and think about it… and we miss how awesome modern toothpaste is! When you compare the toothpaste you use to what was in use just a few generation back you may start to appreciate it more! We hope you already enjoy brushing your teeth and now will enjoy toothpaste a little more.
As always with Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we are here for you if you have any questions… we love our patients!