Unusual Toothpaste Ingredients Throughout History

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The toothpastes we use today typically contain the fluoride mineral, mild abrasives, cleansing agents, and flavors. However, toothpastes throughout history have contained some very unusual—and sometimes unbelievable—ingredients. Check out a few of these ancient toothpaste ingredients.

Urine . . . Gross!

It’s true, the ancient Romans used toothpastes containing abrasive materials and urine. If you think that people changed their ways after a few years, you would have thought wrong because urine-based toothpastes were used well into the 18th century. Why? Because urine contains ammonia compounds, which have cleaning properties.

Gravedigging Ingredients

Another wacky toothpaste ingredient the Romans used was crushed bone. They put bone in toothpastes because its abrasive nature cleaned away the food, plaque, and tartar that collected on teeth. They also used powdered charcoal and bark to produce this effect. There were many other abrasive ingredients people had in their toothpastes throughout history: the ancient Egyptians used burnt eggshells and ox-hoof ashes, the ancient Greeks used crushed oyster shells, and during the 1850’s, chalk was added to toothpaste.

Burnt Your Toast? Use It To Clean Your Teeth!

Toothpaste is typically used to clean food from teeth, but in the late 1700’s, people used food to clean their teeth! Burnt toast was a common ingredient found in a tooth powder because of its abrasive texture.