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Dentifrices, including toothpowder and toothpaste, are agents used along with a toothbrush to clean and polish natural teeth. They are supplied in paste, powder, gel or liquid form. Many dentifrices have been produced over the years, some focusing on marketing strategies to sell products, such as offering whitening capabilities. The most essential dentifrice recommended by dentists is toothpaste which is used in conjunction with a toothbrush to help remove food debris and dental plaque. Dentifrice is also the French word for toothpaste.
Types of dentifrices
Toothpaste is a dentifrice used in conjunction with a toothbrush to help maintain oral hygiene. The essential components are an abrasive, binder, surfactant and humectant. Other ingredients are also used. The main purpose of the paste is to help remove debris and plaque with some marketed to serve accessory functions such as breath freshening and teeth whitening.
Tooth powder is an alternative to toothpaste. It comes in both fluoride and non-fluoride versions.
History of tooth powder
Tooth powder was generally used among the Romans. Roman dentifrices used a variety of substances, such as the bones, hoofs, and horns of certain animals; crabs; oyster and murex shells; and egg-shells. They were reduced to a fine powder, sometimes after having been previously burnt. Ingredients that were sometimes added were honey, ground myrrh, nitre,, salt, and hartshorn; pounded pumice was a more dubious article, though Pliny the Elder says "dentifrices, too, are prepared from it". Tooth powder was used to clean and whiten teeth, to fix them when loose, to strengthen the gums, and to assuage toothache.
The earliest mention of tooth care among the Romans comes from a poem:
"Calpurnius, I greet you with some quick verse. I sent you, just as you asked me to, clean teeth and a bright smile, the product of Araby, a little powder, noble, fine and whitening, something to reduce the swelling of your little gums, to brush away yesterday's leftovers, so that nothing dingey and nasty might be seen should you part your lips in laughter."
By 1924, diatomaceous earth was mined for tooth powder. In modern times, baking soda has been the most commonly used tooth powder, although this has now been mostly supplanted by commercial toothpastes.
Mouthwashes come in a variety of compositions, many claiming to kill bacteria that make up plaque or to freshen breath. In their basic form, they are usually recommended for use after brushing but some manufacturers recommend pre-brush rinsing. Dental research[which?] has recommended that mouthwash should be used as an aid to brushing rather than a replacement, because the sticky resistant nature of plaque prevents it from being actively removed by chemicals alone, and physical detachment of the sticky proteins is required.
Tooth soap cleans gums as well as fissures and pits in teeth using soap. The soap helps remove oils, residue and other contaminants. It is available in hard, liquid and gel.
- Pliny the Elder (1855). "xxviii.49—REMEDIES FOR TOOTH-ACHE". The Natural History. Translated by John Bostock and H.T. Riley. London: Taylor and Francis.
- Pliny the Elder. "xxxii.21.(6.)—THE VARIOUS KINDS OF OYSTERS: FIFTY-EIGHT REMEDIES AND OBSERVATIONS. PURPLES: NINE REMEDIES". The Natural History.
- Pliny the Elder. "xxxi.46.(10.)—THE VARIOUS KINDS OF NITRUM, THE METHODS OF PREPARING IT, AND THE REMEDIES DERIVED FROM IT: TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE OBSERVATIONS THEREON". The Natural History.
- Pliny the Elder. "xxxii.26.—REMEDIES FOR TOOTH-ACHE. THE DOG-FISH : FOUR REMEDIES. WHALE'S FLESH". The Natural History.
- Pliny the Elder. "xxxvi. 42.—PUMICE; NINE REMEDIES". The Natural History.
- Smith, D.C.L., LL.D., William (1875). A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. London: John Murray.
- ""Toothpowder Mountain" Built From Shells: Skeletons of Tiny Sea Urchins Piled Up on Bottom of Prehistoric Ocean Supply Industry with Valuable Rock". Popular Mechanics: 209–210. February 1924.
- Center for Scientific Information, ADA Science Institute (13 September 2017). "Mouthwash (Mouthrinse)". Oral Health Topics. American Dental Association. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
- "5 Date Tips that Change the Game". Life's Smart Choices Blog. Oxyfresh. Retrieved 19 March 2018.