How Did Ancient Egypt Make Toothpaste

Ancient Egypt was one of the most renowned civilisations of the ancient world and was renowned for many of their inventions, including toothpaste. This paste was made primarily with natural ingredients, making it highly efficient and healthy for the Egyptians. The ancient Egyptians believed that cleaning the teeth was not only hygienic but also served a stronger spiritual purpose. There are several references to how the ancient Egyptians created their traditional toothpaste and what ingredients they used.

In ancient Egypt, toothpowder was used as a form of toothpaste. It consisted of a combination of dried herbs, minerals and sometimes even charcoal. This was then mixed with the saliva on the finger and applied directly to the teeth. This powder was composed mainly of sodium carbonate, myrrh powder, and dissolved oxen gall as its primary ingridients. Some recipes also contained varying amounts of mint and/or thyme. The sodium carbonate acted as a cleaning agent, the myrrh and gall both acted as antiseptics to relieve pain and prevent the proliferation of bacteria.

In the Old Kingdom, a recipe for a toothpaste called “dentifrice” was found in a medical text. The ingredients for this toothpaste were ground-up ox hooves, white wine, pomegranate skin and burnt eggshells. The ox hooves were used to act as an abrasive for scrubbing the teeth, while the white wine contained acids which further promoted cleaning. The pomegranate skin added a deeper red colour to the paste, and the eggshells were painted as an enamel substitute.

In the 19th century, the Egyptians began to use calamus, an aromatic plant extract, in their toothpaste. This was because it was believed to be an effective way of preventing bad odour. The ingredients used in both the 19th century and Old Kingdom toothpastes were finely ground down to create a smooth paste which was then rubbed into the teeth. This paste was known to have superb drying effects. Furthermore, when combined with other ingredients such as honey, it could actually promote healing of gums.

Today, the ancient Egyptian mixtures are still being used in some parts of the world. However, modern toothpastes are created with numerous synthetic and chemical ingredients. Ancient Egyptians were more efficient in that they used natural herbs and plants in the mixtures; in some cases, such as for the treatment of dental caries, these natural ingredients have been shown to be as effective as modern toothpastes. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that, while modern toothpastes may provide more convenience and better taste, the toothpowder used by the ancient Egyptians could still be a viable option for some.

Ingredients Found in Ancient Egyptian Toothpaste

The ingredients found in ancient Egyptian toothpaste included a variety of natural substances, such as sodium carbonate, myrrh powder, oxen gall, mint, thyme, and sometimes even charcoal. These ingredients were combined to create a paste which when applied to the teeth would act as an effective cleaning agent, antiseptic, and pigment.

Sodium carbonate, or washing soda, was the main ingredient. This was used for its ability to absorb dirt and oils. Myrrh and oxen gall were both used as natural antiseptics to help with pain relief and reducing the proliferation of bacteria. Charcoal was sometimes added as a pigment to give the paste a black or grey tint. Finally, mint and thyme were used to give the paste a pleasant taste and fragrance.

Benefits of Modern Day Toothpastes

Modern day toothpastes have numerous benefits compared to ancient Egyptian toothpowder. First, they are more convenient; toothpastes come in a tube and can be easily applied to the teeth with a toothbrush. Second, most toothpastes contain fluoride, which helps to strengthen and protect teeth against cavities. Finally, modern toothpastes come in a variety of different flavours such as mint, strawberry, cinnamon, and more. This makes them more appealing to both children and adults.

In addition, most modern day toothpastes contain abrasive agents which help to remove plaque from the teeth. This helps to reduce the risk of tooth decay. The majority of modern day toothpastes also contain other active ingredients which offer additional benefits, such as preventing gum disease and bad breath.


Both the ancient Egyptians and modern toothpastes have their own unique benefits. Ancient Egyptian toothpaste used natural ingredients and was able to provide a significant amount of cleaning and anti-bacterial properties. On the other hand, modern toothpastes are more convenient, contain additional benefits such as fluoride, and come in a variety of flavours. Therefore, it is up to the individual to decide which one is better suited for their health and lifestyle.


Ancient Egyptian toothpaste was primarily composed of natural ingredients such as sodium carbonate, myrrh powder, oxen gall, mint, and thyme. This mixture was ground into a paste, applied directly to the teeth, and was known to effectively clean the teeth and prevent the proliferation of bacteria. On the other hand, modern day toothpastes are more convenient, contain fluoride, and come in a variety of different flavours. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which kind of toothpaste is best suited for their health and lifestyle.

Clarence Norwood

Clarence E. Norwood is an author and scholar specializing in the history and archaeology of ancient peoples. He has written extensively on the civilizations of the Near East, Egypt, and the Mediterranean. He has authored numerous books and articles on a wide range of topics, including the evolution of the alphabet, the rise of the ancient nations, and the impact of ancient cultures and religions on modern society. He has also conducted archaeological field research in North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

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