It’s important to keep one’s pearly white teeth clean and pearly white. Without our teeth, it’s difficult to eat, unless you resort to wearing dentures, but they come with their own issues. In days past, lifespans were shorter in part due to the decaying and loss of their teeth.
This led to some ancient civilizations to develop ways to clean their teeth. According to Colgate’s website:
Egyptians are believed to have started using a paste to clean their teeth around 5000BC before toothbrushes were invented. Ancient Greeks and Romans are known to have used toothpaste, and people in China and India first used toothpaste around 500BC.
Ancient toothpaste was used to treat some of the same concerns that we have today – keeping teeth and gums clean, whitening teeth and freshening breath. The ingredients of ancient toothpaste were however very different and varied. Ingredients used included a powder of ox hooves’ ashes and burnt eggshells, that was combined with pumice. The Greeks and Romans favored more abrasiveness and their toothpaste ingredients included crushed bones and oyster shells. The Romans added more flavoring to help with bad breath, as well as powdered charcoal and bark. The Chinese used a wide variety of substances in toothpaste over time that has included ginseng, herbal mints, and salt.
The development of toothpastes in more modern times started in the 1800s. Early versions contained soap and in the 1850s chalk was included. Betel nut was included in toothpaste in England in the 1800s, and in the 1860s a home encyclopedia described a home-made toothpaste that used ground charcoal.
Today, the American Dental Association recommends:
Brushing your teeth is an important part of your dental care routine. For a healthy mouth and smile the ADA recommends you:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
- Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
The proper brushing technique is to:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
- Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
So, we have all heard how important it is to brush our teeth regularly and that we should use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, but which fluoride containing toothpaste should we use or avoid? There are many different kinds of toothpaste on the market today. There are the good old regular kind, to ones that are supposed to whiten your teeth, to those that help with sensitive teeth, to some that now supposedly helps heal and seal the enamel layer of your teeth.
According to a recent study, there is a compound found in many kinds of toothpaste that has been found to increase a woman’s risk of developing osteoporosis, as reported:
Women who have high levels of the antibacterial agent triclosan in their urine have worse bone health than other women, new research indicates.
Triclosan, which was recently banned in hand sanitizers, is used in a variety of “consumer goods and personal care products including soaps, hand sanitizers, toothpaste, and mouthwash,” Shaofang Cai, the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen Medical College, China, and colleagues explain in their article, published online June 25 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism…
The group analyzed data from over 1800 adult women who participated in the 2005 to 2010 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Among women in the highest tertile of urinary triclosan level, BMD was lower in the total femur, intertrochanter, and lumbar spine, and the prevalence of osteoporosis in the intertrochanter was more than twofold higher.
“We provided the first evidence,” they report, “that urinary [triclosan] concentration was significantly associated with BMD and osteoporosis in…US adult women.”
The report went on to say that 75% of the US population tests positive for triclosan in their urine. Note that in 2016, triclosan was banned in antiseptic washes and in 2017 it was banned from healthcare antiseptics and in 2019, the FDA banned it from hand sanitizers. Some are wondering if the apparent link between triclosan and osteoporosis may lead the FDA to ban it from toothpaste as well. In the meantime, ladies, you may want to read the ingredients label on your toothpaste or before buying your next tube.