Early Egyptians, Chinese, Greek and Roman writings describe different mixtures of toothpastes and powders used to clean their teeth. Typical ingredients back then included crushed bone, ox hooves' ashes, burnt egg, pumice and oyster shells. Some included better tasting ingredients such as powdered fruit, honey and dried flowers. Take a look at the timeline below to learn about the evolution of modern toothpaste.


“Modern” toothpastes, usually in powder form, were invented.


Dr. Peabody added soap to toothpaste.


Dr. John Harris added chalk to toothpaste.


Colgate mass-produced the first toothpaste in a jar.


Dr. Washington Sheffield invented the collapsible tube.


Fluoride was added to toothpaste.


The most recent developments to toothpaste include whitening formulas and additives to protect against gum disease, plaque and bad breath.

To learn about the correct way to brush your teeth visit the Brushing & Flossing section.