Invisalign logoGet on the path to a straighter smile today!
Skip to Main Content

Weird Ingredients They Used to Put in Toothpaste

Weird Ingredients They Used to Put in Toothpaste

The toothpaste you recognize in the stores today is very different from what people used in the past to clean their teeth. Here are 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. They were actually the first people to experiment with toothpaste. One version of toothpaste that was common consisted of rock salt, dried flowers, mint and pepper ground into a fine paste with some water. Some mixtures even included ox hooves and burnt egg shells. This mixture was actually very effective at 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. Sometimes they would even include charcoal to help freshen breath.


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


In the 1820s, a dentist by the name of Dr. Peabody came up with the idea of adding 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 all familiar with today.

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

Download our FREE SmileTown Children's Activity Booklet.

This fun resource will help your kids get ready – and excited – about visiting the dentist.

Enter your email address below to get the FREE activity book and to receive our latest news and updates.

(604) 371-2830 Contact