"How did people clean their teeth before toothbrushes and toothpaste?"

Q: How did people used to keep their teeth clean in the days before toothpaste and toothbrushes?

A: Modern toothbrushes and toothpaste weren’t invented until early in the 20th century. Before that, people tried many different ways to keep their teeth clean.

Ancient civilizations used to chew the end of a twig to fray it into strands, then they would use the frayed twig end in their mouths like a toothbrush. These chewed twigs were apparently a surprisingly effective way to clean the mouth, but we’ll gladly stick with a modern toothbrush.

For toothpaste, people tried everything from charcoal, chalk and ashes to lemon juice, honey and crushed eggshells. The oldest known recipe for toothpaste dates back to Egypt, over 15,000 years ago. The recipe used a combination of rock salt, mint, dried iris flower and pepper. While the recipe was apparently much more effective than many toothpastes that were invented later, it couldn’t compare to toothpastes used today.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees children and adults in Culver City and serves the greater Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

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