Dental care is a common part of daily life in our age. But it wasn’t so long ago that those pearly whites weren’t so pearly.
Toothpaste was invented only 100 years ago. Before that, after people figured out that brushing the teeth would preserve them longer, common tooth cleaners included ground-up charcoal, pulverized brick, lemon juice, and even a mixture of honey and tobacco. Early toothbrushes included the miswak, a twig or root which has been used in the Muslim world since the Golden Age. After toothpaste was invented, it wasn’t until World War II that brushing actually became popular in the U.S.
Today, twice daily brushing is common, and flossing is becoming more standard. Dentists also recommend brushing after lunch or sweet snacks.