Would you clean your teeth with salt and pepper? How about burned ashes?
If you’re used to toothpaste that comes from a tube, this might sound bizarre or uncomfortable. But these are just a few ways people have kept their mouths clean over the centuries, and they’re not entirely different from the toothpaste you buy in the store.
These older toothpastes used abrasive ingredients—like salt or ashes—to scrape the gunk off of teeth. As the video above explains, today’s manufactured toothpastes have abrasives in them, too. But modern abrasives like hydrated silica—the same thing that’s in those little packets that come in new shoes and bags, except with water—is a lot more gentle than the crushed eggshells, pumice, and other things