Dental Monthly

By Dr. Elena Speranza Moll

The Origins of Tooth Paste

The first traces of active teeth cleaning have been found in the early times of the Egyptians, Greek and Roman eras. But probably also in earlier civilizations people felt the need to clean their teeth. Usually “tooth-powders” were used to remove food debris, what we today call bacterial or dental plaque, from their teeth.

Tooth paste as we know it today is a fairly recent invention as its history began in 1824 when soap was mixed with the tooth powders. In 1880 the first official brand and tube of tooth paste was sold.

In 1938 the first affordable tooth brush with nylon hairs and plastic holder appeared on the market and was promoted together with tooth paste to prevent tooth decay and gum inflammation. In the 50s fluoride was included in tooth paste ingredients for its proven effect against decay.

Now we have always considered tooth paste to be necessary to remove dental plaque, but is that actually true?

Research has found that you might as well clean your teeth without tooth paste.

As long as the technique is correct your teeth will be as clean as with tooth paste…… However people will be less prone to brush without tooth paste and spend less time brushing.

It is the tooth paste that makes the Tooth brushing “attractive” because of its freshening effect and cleanliness and stimulation of the salivary glands. It makes people more willing to brush for the famous 2 minutes to obtain the fresh explosion effect.


>Teeth can be cleaned better with toothpaste and it has clear advantages.

>Tooth paste can deliver important substances that act against decay, inflammation and sensitive tooth necks.

>It is important to start tooth brushing as soon as a baby has its first teeth without tooth paste. From 2 years old use children’s toothpaste.

>Use an electrical toothbrush for efficient and thorough cleaning also for children.

>Brush your tongue also with tooth paste with a hand brush or tongue scraper



>It is not true that the fluoride doses in it are dangerous (as long as you do not eat a whole tube when you are a toddler, there is no evidence-based literature that says otherwise)

>It is not true that you can bleach your teeth with tooth paste. It’s white effect only lasts a few days. These products usually contain citric or other acids that cause erosion and create porosity of the enamel, and removing layers of enamel will result in the opposite: yellow teeth.

>It is not true that prescribed toothpaste that fights bacterial plaque containing chlorhexidine can be used forever. In the long run it changes the bacterial flora in your mouth and will not be effective anymore.

>It is not true that the more an abrasive toothpaste is, the better it cleans. Toothpaste that promises Whitening often is too abrasive and that can eventually damage your teeth.


By Dr. Elena Speranza Moll

Studio Moll
Via Amilcare Ponchielli 21B, 50018 Scandicci –Firenze
Tel: 055-755347
WhatsApp: 331-6362682

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