How Did Ancient Egypt Make Toothpaste?

Toothpaste is one of the most essential parts of our daily hygiene. But did you know it wasn’t the same Toothpaste formula always?

Have you ever thought about which Toothpaste our ancestors used? Or, are you curious to know how people in ancient Egypt kept their teeth clean? Since very obviously Toothpaste wasn’t a thing back then, Egyptians had their own unique method of cleaning teeth. It may surprise you that ancient Egyptian Toothpaste was made up of burnt eggshells, Pumice, ox hooves, and other similar ingredients. Surprising or disgusting?

We cannot think of using any of these ingredients to clean even our hands, let alone get them into our mouths. However, ancient Egyptians used Toothpaste made of burnt eggshells, Pumice, and other such ingredients for ages. And they were capable of keeping their teeth and gums healthy, clean, and shiny all time long.

Join us to discover more about ancient Egyptian Toothpaste. Moving forward in the article, we will explore the history and science behind using weird ingredients in Toothpaste. We will also discuss its effectiveness and how Egyptians came up with this concoction back in the time. Make sure you stick to the end to get the most out of this article. 

The History and Science Behind Ancient Egypt Toothpaste

Ancient Egyptians made significant contributions to the fields of mathematics, anatomy, astronomy, pharmacology, and dentistry. Their advanced knowledge in science and medicine was commendable.

According to several archeological pieces of evidence, ancient Egyptians had a deep understanding of dental anatomy. Back then, they developed several dental hygiene methods and took great care of their oral health.  

Egyptians made significant contributions to the field of dentistry. In fact, as per rumors, Toothpaste was used in Egypt as far past as 5000 BC. However, the first recorded recipe for Toothpaste dates back to the 4th century AD in Egypt. Ancient Egyptians believed in and focused on great dental hygiene practices. They believed that dental care is a part of overall health care. 

Egyptians and Weird Toothpaste Ingredients

The most common ingredients used in Toothpaste by ancient Egyptians were Pumice, burnt eggshells, myrrh, and ox hooves.

However, the ingredients varied depending upon different eras and one’s social status even back then.

To make Toothpaste, Egyptians used to grind all these ingredients into a fine powder. They further mixed it with water or wine to form a paste comfortable enough for brushing. 

Ancient Egyptian Toothpaste Recipe Ingredients

Why ancient Egyptians used such weird ingredients in their Toothpaste has some scientific meanings.

  • Pumice: For instance, Pumice was a common toothpaste ingredient for its abrasive nature. Using it helped in removing plaque and stains from teeth.
  • Burnt eggshells, on the other hand, helped with their calcium content. In addition, myrrh aided in providing some antiseptic properties
  • Ox hooves and ashes were used because they contain calcium phosphate. A mix of these ingredients not only cleaned teeth but also strengthened them. 
  • Herbs and Spices: Egyptians used mint, cinnamon, frankincense, and more such herbs and spices to add taste. Unlike many may sense, ancient Egyptian Toothpaste even has flavors. The use of these ingredients is also meant to leave a refreshing breath. 
  • Rock salt and dried iris flowers was crushed in stone vessels with water to create a fine paste which was used to clean their teeth.

However, the effectiveness of ancient Egyptian Toothpaste is a matter of research and debate amongst modern researchers. While the cleanliness quotient isn’t doubted, whether Toothpaste is effective at preventing cavities is still a question. But still, ancient Egypt toothpaste paved the way for modern Toothpaste, and we cannot overlook what is proven in history.

Ancient Greece and Rome Toothpaste

Ancient Greece and Rome didn’t have Toothpaste like we know the one today. However, they used iterations of the Egyptian mixture and further experimented with making their own Toothpaste.

The ancient Greece people used a mixture of ashes, crushed bones, and oyster shells with water to form Toothpaste. At the same time, the ancient Romans used a mixture of crushed bones, oyster shells, and powdered charcoal. They flavored it with myrrh and powdered bark for its extra cleanliness and fresh breath. 

People in Ancient Greece and Rome used more abrasive mixtures to increase the cleaning power of their Toothpaste. 

The Ancient Egyptian Toothbrush

Similarly, to Toothpaste, the Ancient Egyptian Toothbrush as well as very different from ours. Egyptians and Babylonians used toothbrushes made up of fraying the end of a twig. Or they mashed the end of a branch into bristles, dipped it in the toothpaste mixture (and water), and further scrubbed their teeth. 

Not only Toothbrushes, but ancient Egyptians also used toothpicks made out of bone, wood, or quills. Toothpicks help them in massing gums and removing food particles from between their teeth. However, neither toothbrushes nor toothpicks were widely used during that time. 

Were dental surgeries possible in the Ancient Egypt era?

A certain form of dentistry existed in the Ancient Egypt era. This fact is also associated with the field of dental surgery since the existence of dentists in ancient Egypt is even documented. 

Tooth extraction was one of the most common dental procedures performed by ancient Egyptian dentists. Back then, dentists used mandrake root as a primitive form of anesthesia for numbing before extraction. Further, they used forceps and pliers to remove teeth that were beyond repair. However, not every tooth extraction was done on numbness, so for most of them, the pain was real. 

Ancient Egyptians even performed drilling cavities and filled them with resin and beeswax. There are, in fact, some texts available claiming procedures like dental caries, mouth ulcers, teeth extraction, jaw fractures, and abscesses.

However, evidence through medical papyri or in visual art isn’t found supporting indications of dental surgery during the ancient Egyptian era. But there are some possible indications concerning the osteological material/mummies. 

Ancient Tooth Paste and Powder Recipe

Ancient Tooth Paste and Powder Recipe


Dental hygiene and oral health have been recognized throughout history, especially by the ancient Egyptians. Back then, people developed a range of suitable and successful dental care methods. In addition to that, they were also able to perform a variety of procedures safely.

Early techniques and knowledge highly influence even modern dental practices. It will, in fact, continue to grow through following age-old practices as base and inspiration. 

frequently Asked Questions

How did ancient Egypt make toothbrushes?

Burnt eggshells, ox hoof powder, and ashes were mixed with a pumice stone to create a powder that the Egyptians used to massage their teeth and gums with.

Did ancient Egypt created toothpaste?

Yes, Toothpaste has a very long history. Egyptians employed a cleaning paste to get rid of plaque on their teeth around 5000 BC.

How did ancients clean teeth?

They brushed their teeth with worn-out sticks and abrasive powders. Pumice, ground-up hooves, eggshells, seashells, and ashes were used to create these powders.

What is the oldest toothpaste Formula?

The Egyptians invented the recipe for the oldest known tooth powder. It had crushed rock salt, dried iris flowers, and mint leaves. Although this formula was well known to cause bleeding gums, it was efficient at cleaning teeth and freshening breath.

What was the recipe for ancient Egyptian toothpaste?

Egyptians toothpaste was made from crushed rock salt, dried iris flowers, pepper, and mint mixed with a little water to form a thin paste. The mint and other herbs were added to aid with breath improvement, and mint is still a common component in toothpaste today.

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