So, you thought toothpaste was just for brushing your teeth eh? Think again.
Toothpaste is used to promote oral hygiene: it serves as an abrasive that aids in removing the dental plaque and food from the teeth, assists in suppressing halitosis, and delivers active ingredients such as fluoride or xylitol to help prevent tooth and gum disease (gingivitis). Toothpaste is not intended to be swallowed, but is generally not very harmful if accidentally swallowed in small amounts.
However, beyond brushing, toothpaste can be useful for many other things!
The Many Uses Of Toothpaste
All of these remedies (unless stated otherwise), are best used with the non-gel, basic white toothpaste.
Ugly nail holes showing? Just a little white toothpaste will fill in the hole instantly. Let it dry and you can paint over it.
Air Freshener For Your Car
Squeeze a small amount of toohpaste onto a the center of a paper towel. Roll or fold the towel up. Place under the seat. When the car is left in the warm sunshine it will heat up and the toothpaste will release a nice soft mint smell into your car. Replace as needed.
Cleans Crayon Marks Off Walls
Did those crayon-toting angels of yours get creative and draw some fancy artwork on your wall? Don't worry. Just grab a tube, a rag or scrub brush, and dab a little on the wall and start scrubbing. The fine abrasive in the toothpaste will take away the crayon marks every time. Rinse the wall with water.
Hang Posters on the wall
Just put a litttle dab in each corner of the poster and a few in between on the edges. Put your poster up and it will stick like magic. When you get ready to remove it will come off easy with no holes.
You can find many commercial cleaners containing a very fine abrasive that are designed to make your chrome shine, but if you don't happen to have one of these cleaners handy, try a little non-gel toothpaste instead (which also contains a mild abrasive) It will work just as good. Smear it on and polish the chrome piece with a soft, dry cloth.
Cleans Your Bathroom Sink, Destroys Odors From Drain
Non-gel toothpastes work just as good as any other bathroom cleaner when it comes to cleaning out your sink. How handy can you get, it's sitting right there at your fingertips so why not use it? OR...if your family is like mine, they drop gobs of it in the sink while brushing their teeth so just take a sponge or cloth and make good use of their waste! Rinse it out and see it shine! An additional bonus even! This will also destroy any odors coming from down inside the drain.
Ouch! No wonder you cut yourself shaving...a fogged-up bathroom mirror certainly prevents you from seeing your face clearly. Next time (before you shave and cut yourself) spread a little non-gel toothpaste onto the mirror and wipe it off before stepping into the shower. When you're done with your shower and ready to shave, the mirror won't be fogged up!
Baby Bottle Deodorizer
Are your baby's bottles starting to smell like sour milk? Toothpaste works well to remove this odor! Just put a little bit on the bottle brush and start scrubbing. Be sure to rinse the bottle out well and if possible, use a flouride-free toothpaste.
Cleans tennis shoes...the rubber part
Try a little of the non-gel variety on one of your old toothbrushes to clean and whiten the rubber sides of your tennis shoes! After scrubbing them, take a damp cloth to clean it off and they'll look almost new!
Removes Scuff Marks
Can you believe that just a dab of toothpaste can remove scuff marks from your favorite pair of leather shoes? It's simply amazing! Just dab a little on the scuff marks, rub the area with a soft cloth, and then wipe clean with a damp cloth. You will make them look like new!
Get gum out of hair
Spread toothpaste over the gum in your child's hair or their clothing and let it sit. It breaks down the sugar in the gum and it will come right out.
Toothpaste can remove the hair colour stains that occur on the temples, the forehead, the hairline, the neck, and around the ears. Put a dab on your figertip, rub it gently on the stain, and rinse with lukewarm water. If necessary, repeat until the stain is gone.
Relieve irritation from bug bites, sores, and blisters. These skin irritations all tend to weep and, in the case of bug bites, often itch. Apply a drop of toothpaste to a bug bite or insect sting to stop the itching and decrease any swelling. When applied to sores or blisters, it dries them up, thus allowing the wound to heal faster. It’s best when used overnight.
Remove tar from bare feet with toothpaste.
Decrease the size of a pimple.
Want to speed up the healing of a zit? Apply a tiny dot of toothpaste to the affected area at night before bed. I should shrink down in size by morning! Wash it off.
Toothpaste is good for cleaning and polishing nails but don't do it too often as nails are made from keratin and not as durable as teeth made from enamel, hence constant use on nails could make them become brittle.
For cleaner, shinier, and stronger nails, simply scrub the underneath and tops of fingernails with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Remove scratches on DVDs and CDs
Ok, this remedy has been used with mixed success rates, but it seems to work fairly well on shallow scratches and smudges. Apply a thin coating of toothpaste to the disc and rub gently, then rinse clean.
Remove the burned crust on irons
For those of you who still use an iron, you may find that after time, the plate of the iron develops a burned crust. The silica in toothpaste gently grinds away this rusty-looking layer.
Just rub toothpaste on then rinse well.
Clean your grimy watchband.
Put a dab of toothpaste on the band and gently rub it with your moistened fingers. Rinse clean, then dry with a soft cloth. If the watch itself is not water-resistant, be careful not to get it wet during the process.
Remove annoying scratches on your watch crystal.
Put a small amount on your fingertips, rub it on the crystal with a light touch, and wipe it clean with a soft, dry cloth.
Invention of the Toothpaste
The earliest known reference to any mixture for cleaning teeth comes from a 4th century AD Egyptian manuscript. Ancient Egyptians used a mixture of green lead, verdigris (the green crust that forms on certain metals like copper or brass when exposed to salt water or air), and incense. Ground fish bones were used by the early Chinese.
The Greeks, and then the Romans, improved the recipes for toothpaste by adding abrasives such as crushed bones and oyster shells. In the 9th century, the Persian musician and fashion designer Ziryab invented a type of toothpaste, which he popularized throughout Islamic Spain. The exact ingredients of this toothpaste are unknown, but it was reported to have been both "functional and pleasant to taste". It is not known whether these early toothpastes were used alone, were to be rubbed onto the teeth with rags, or were to be used with early toothbrushes, such as neem-tree twigs and miswak. Toothpastes or powders came into general use in the 19th century.
In 1850, Dr. Washington Wentworth Sheffield, a dental surgeon and chemist, invented the first toothpaste. He was 23 years old and lived in New London, Connecticut. Dr. Sheffield had been using his invention, which he called Creme Dentifrice, in his private practice. The positive response of his patients encouraged him to market the paste. He constructed a laboratory to improve his invention and a small factory to manufacture it.
Sheffield Labs claims it was the first company to put toothpaste in tubes.
How It's Made
Every toothpaste contains the following ingredients: binders, abrasives, sudsers, humectants, flavors (unique additives), sweeteners, fluorides, tooth whiteners, a preservative, and water. Binders thicken toothpastes. They prevent separation of the solid and liquid components, especially during storage. They also affect the speed and volume of foam production, the rate of flavor release and product dispersal, the appearance of the toothpaste ribbon on the toothbrush, and the rinsibility from the toothbrush. Some binders are karaya gum, bentonite, sodium alginate, methylcellulose, carrageenan, and magnesium aluminum silicate.
The Manufacturing Process
Weighing and mixing
- After transporting the raw materials into the factory, the ingredients are both manually and mechanically weighed. This ensures accuracy in the ingredients' proportions. Then the ingredients are mixed together. Usually, the glycerin-water mixture is done first.
- All the ingredients are mixed together in the mixing vat. The temperature and humidity of vat are watched closely. This is important to ensuring that the mix comes together correctly. A commonly used vat in the toothpaste industry mixes a batch that is the equivalent of 10,000 four-ounce (118 ml) tubes.
Filling the tubes
- Before tubes are filled with toothpaste, the tube itself passes under a blower and a vacuum to ensure cleanliness. Dust and particles are blown out in this step. The tube is capped, and the opposite end is opened so the filling machine can load the paste.
- After the ingredients are mixed together, the tubes are filled by the filling machine. To make sure the tube is aligned correctly, an optical device rotates the tube. Then the tube is filled by a descending pump. After it is filled, the end is sealed (or crimped) closed. The tube also gets a code stamped on it indicating where and when it was manufactured.
Packaging and shipment
- After tubes are filled, they are inserted into open paperboard boxes. Some companies do this by hand.
- The boxes are cased and shipped to warehouses and stores.
Quality ControlEach batch of ingredients is tested for quality as it is brought into the factory. The testing lab also checks samples of final product.
- When originally marketed to consumers, toothpaste was packaged in jars. Chalk was commonly used as the abrasive in the early part of the twentieth century.
- Changing the brand of toothpaste especially ones with medicinal ingredients is a good idea since after time the bacteria in mouth may develop resistance to them thereby making them less effective.
- A 'pea' size, (yes like that little green vegetable), is als that is needed to remove plaque and food debris.
- The way you brush is more important than the brand of toothpase and toothbrush. “To do it properly, you need to position the brush at a 45 degree angle so that you get some of the bristles in between the tooth and the gums,” says Dr. Whall, director of the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance Program. “Move the brush in small circles in those areas, and then continue on to the rest of the teeth. This process should take about one to two minutes to complete.”
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Main-Photo credit: Southside Images