known as a "dentrifice" by dentists,
is one of the most common hygeine products used
by people throughout
way before the invention of toothbrush,
although toothpastes during the ancient Roman
and Greek times were made from ingredients
very different from the ones we have today.
The earliest known toothpaste is a formulation in a manuscript written in
4th century AD Egypt. The manuscript says the toothpaste
incredients were a mixture of powdered
salt, pepper, mint leaves, and iris
flowers. The Romans used toothpaste formulations
based on human urine!
Urine is antiseptic so in fact its use does make some medicinal sense.
todays modern toothpasts are almost always made from a basic mix of an abrasive
and fluoride. The abrasive can be mica or sometimes calcium. Many toothpastes
also contain an antimicrobial agent. This can be something like sodium lauryl
sulfate (actually a detergent, but also anti-microbial in its effect), or triclosan
( very popular in Europe). Toothpasts may variably include other materials,
but the above are the common ingredients to be found in most.
While brushing on a regular basis is advised,
it is not complete if brushing is not done
with toothpaste. Today, there are a whole lot
of brands and types of toothpastes in the market – those
with high fluoride content, those for sensitive
teeth, those with whiteners, and those with
flavors and colors. Whatever additive the
toothpaste claims to have, the fluoride content
most important ingredient that it should contain.
Studies from the 1940s and early 1950s suggested
that people who drank water that naturally
contained fluoride had reduced levels of tooth
decay. In the 1950s the Procter & Gamble
Company in the USA first had the idea of adding
to their toothpaste brand. In 1956 the
company launched a
campaign for their flouridated toothpaste that
was hugely sucessful. People began using toothpaste
with fluoride as a routine health and hygiene
procedure for their teeth.
Fluoride reduces and prevents tooth decay.
It covers the smooth enamel areas of the
teeth preventing food particles and bacteria
and do their damage. It also strengthens tooth
enamel thereby increasing its resistance to
caries (tooth decay).
Acceptable levels of fluoride for children’s
toothpastes are between 1000-1450ppm (parts
per million). Higher fluoride levels are detrimental
causes mottling of teeth. Tooth mottling is
a situation where the color, and/or texture
of a tooth can vary in different regions
the tooth. In other words, the teeth can have
brown stain spots on them, a condition that
is known by dentists as "fluorosis".
This can look unsightly, but it is not a health
problem as such.
Toothpastes for children
come in different flavors and colors that are
to children. As such, for children below 7
years of age, adult supervision is needed in
only a “pea-sized” quantity of
toothpaste on the child’s toothbrush.
For adults, it is advised that toothpastes
marketed and available over the counter should
contain at most 1500ppm. Higher fluoride levels
of up to 2800 ppm is available upon a dentist’s
advice and can only be purchased with prescription.
Aside from fluoride, toothpastes nowadays
have also been supplemented with antibacterial
additives like triclosan and zinc citrate.
These help reduce bacteria in them outh and
help promote heathly gums. Also peroxide-based
whitening agents have been added
for a brighter and whiter
smile to some toothpaste formulations.
The importance of proper and complete tooth
brushing and its role in good oral hygiene
cannot be emphasized enough. Oral diseases
can be reduced and prevented by simply brushing
with toothpaste at least twice a day.