Fact File: Who invented Toothpaste? Invention: Modern Toothpaste in a
Tube *** Date of Invention: 1880 *** Name of Inventor: Washington Sheffield *** Country of Origin: America *** The Invention of
Fact 1: Who invented Toothpaste? The first
Toothpaste was invented c. 5000 BC by the Ancient Egyptians.
Who invented Toothpaste? Prior to the invention of Toothpaste the people of
ancient civilizations cleaned their teeth with chewing sticks.
Fact 3: Who invented Toothpaste? The Ancient Egyptians made a toothbrush
by fraying the end of twigs and evidence of these early toothbrushes have been
found in tombs of notable ancient Egyptians.
Fact 4: Who invented Toothpaste? An Ancient Egyptian papyrus dating from
the 4th century BC has been discovered at the site of the ancient city of
Crocodilopolis that documents the oldest-known formula for toothpaste. The
formula is detailed under the heading of a "powder for white and perfect teeth".
Fact 5: Who invented Toothpaste? The Ancient Egyptian recipe for
toothpaste consists of one drachma of rock salt, two drachmas of mint, one
drachma of dried iris flower and 20 grains of pepper. The ingredients were
crushed and mixed together to form a powder that was used as toothpaste.
Fact 6: Who invented Toothpaste? The ingredients for the Ancient
Egyptian recipe for toothpaste was well formulated by a person who had some
medical knowledge. Rock salt is an abrasive and contains potassium, which helps
prevent the gums from bleeding. Rock salt also contains calcium, which makes
teeth strong and is a whitening agent. The mint provided a fresh taste in the
mouth and freshens the breath. Mint also inhibits the growth of bacteria in the
mouth and the tongue. The dried iris flower is effective against gum disease and
black pepper helped prevent bad breath and gum problems.
Fact 7: Who invented Toothpaste? The Ancient Greeks and Romans conquered
Egypt and are known to have used toothpastes. It is possible that the recipe for
toothpaste was adapted from the Ancient Egyptians to include other ingredients
such as powdered charcoal, crushed bones, oyster shells and bark. (The Romans
were notorious for 'adopting' any useful inventions of other civilizations).
Fact 8: Who invented Toothpaste? Christianity became the official
religion of the Roman Empire in 323AD and it is quite possible that the formula
for toothpaste was passed on by Roman scribes to early Christian monks. However,
the collapse of the Roman Empire in 476 AD led to the period known in history as
the Dark Ages (500 - 1000 AD) when so much ancient knowledge was lost or
Fact 9: Who invented Toothpaste? The ancient knowledge of the Greeks
including the books of Hippocrates were translated into Arabic and their medical
knowledge was added to that of the Muslim Middle East. Muslim inhabited
areas used Miswak
sticks, from the twigs of the Salvadora persica tree to strengthen the gums,
eliminate bad breath and prevent tooth decay.
Fact 10: Who invented Toothpaste? Muslims from Arabia and North Africa
ruled part of Spain from 711 until 1492. A man called Ziryab, a member of the
royal court of the Arab empire in Spain, invented Europe's first toothpaste.
Fact 11: Who invented Toothpaste? The Medieval era of the Middle Ages saw
a resurgence in hygiene and cleanliness. A famous series of texts called the 'Trotula',
written by a female Italian physician and medical writer Trotula de Ruggiero,
was translated into English in 1544 as the Medieval Compendium of Women's
Fact 12: Who invented Toothpaste? The Trotula included recipes for
whitening the teeth that included cinnamon, clove, spikenard (the costly root of
an Indian plant), mastic (a powerful antibacterial gum), frankincense, grain,
wormwood, crab foot, date pits, and olives. Many of the ingredients clearly
originated in the east.
Fact 13: Who invented Toothpaste? The modern
Toothbrush was invented in England by William Addis (1734 - 1808) in 1780.
At this time 'toothpastes' were usually powders that included many abrasives
such as soot, coal dust, brick dust and salt.
Fact 14: Who invented Toothpaste? The inventor of the modern toothpaste
was an American dental surgeon named Washington Wentworth Sheffield (April 23,
1827 - November 4, 1897). Washington Sheffield was the first person to place
toothpaste in collapsible tubes for commercial sale.
Fact 15: Who invented Toothpaste? Washington Sheffield was born April 23,
1827 in North Stonington, Connecticut, the third son of 8 children of the Rev.
John Sheffield and Eliza (Lewis) Sheffield.
Fact 16: Who invented Toothpaste? Washington Sheffield trained as a
dentist and in 1865 graduated from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery. Dr.
Sheffield became one of the most successful dentists in the United States but
was destined to achieve fame through his invention of the modern toothpaste.
Fact 17: Who invented Toothpaste? Washington Sheffield developed many
inventions relating to oral hygiene such as new formulas for tooth powder and
mouthwashes. He improved his inventions and in 1875 developed a ready-made tooth
creme with a pleasing minty taste.
Fact 18: Who invented
Toothpaste? Washington Sheffield's son, Lucius T. Sheffield (May 28, 1854 –
September 20, 1901), attended Harvard as a dental student, planned to join his
father's dental practice when he finished his education.
Fact 19: Who invented
Toothpaste? Following his graduation at Harvard in 1878, Lucius T. Sheffield
went to Paris to further his studies in dentistry. Whilst he was in Paris he was
watching some artists squeeze paint onto palettes from collapsible tubes. It was
one of those 'Eureka'' moments because he suddenly realized that similar tubes
could be used to easily dispense his father's tooth creme straight on to a
toothbrush in a more hygienic manner.
Fact 20: Who invented Toothpaste? Lucius T. Sheffield made notes of the
1878 recipe for 'Sheffield's Amalgam' that included silver, tin, bismuth and
zinc. The toothpaste formula was significantly improved and the ingredients
extended to include chalk, soap, cuttle fish, carmine, myrrh, glycerine and
Fact 21: Who invented Toothpaste? Lucius returned home with his idea and
discovered that the patients in his father's dental surgery were requesting
amounts of the tooth creme to such an extent that he and his father
decided to start a business manufacturing toothpaste. They called the company
the Sheffield Dentifrice Co.
Fact 22: Who invented Toothpaste? In 1880 Sheffield’s “Creme Angelique”
toothpaste was sold in collapsible tubes. At first the tubes were purchased from
suppliers but in 1892 the company developed their own tube-making machinery. In
1990 Lucius and Washington Sheffield started a new company called the New
England Collapsible Tube Co.
Fact 23: Who invented Toothpaste? Lucius and Washington Sheffield went on
to invent various types of artificial dentures and dental bridges and founded
the International Tooth Crown Company.
Fact 24: Who invented Toothpaste? Washington Sheffield died on November
4, 1897 and will be remembered for his invention of the modern Toothpaste.
Fact 25: Who invented Toothpaste? In 1873 the Colgate company
manufactured toothpaste in a jar but changed the container to a tube in the
Fact 26: Who invented Toothpaste? In 1914 Fluoride was added to
toothpaste after discovering it significantly decreased dental cavities.
Fact 27: Who invented Toothpaste? The first toothpastes all contained
soap but this was replaced in 1945 by other ingredients, such as sodium lauryl
sulphate, to make the product into the smooth paste that we enjoy in the present