Toothpaste was invented by the Greeks, whose mixture of taramasalata and crushed bones or oyster shells was known as Kolgatopoulos.
Modern toothpastes were developed by Armand and Michaela Hammer of Wisconsin, whose childrens’ teeth were so discoloured that they were disparagingly referred to as the Yellow Hammers by their schoolmates.
The original formulation of bleach, euphorbia sap and industrial swarf proved extremely effective as a cleaning agent but had a number of minor side-effects such as rapid tooth decay, chronic gum disease and irreversible tongue rot.
However, in 1867, Armand Hammer’s blend of magnesium silicate, baking soda and peppermint blanco met all of the desired dental criteria and also played an invaluable role in the development of light-weight bicycle frames, self-raising muffins and edible belts.
Current proprietary toothpastes are almost all based on the Hammer formula, except for Bunodont & Snaggle’s Ivory Fang Slurry, which is made from fractured opals and blameless tallow, and M C Hammer, which is made from inflatable trousers.