ABOUT A PLAQUE - BUSTING DENTIFRICE
WHAT IS A DENTIFRICE?
A dentifrice is anything that you could use routinely to clean your teeth. More specifically, a compound that you could use to clean your teeth. The most common dentifrice is toothpaste, but there are tooth powders. Tooth powders are just toothpaste minus the gooey part (liquid).
WHAT DOES TOOTHPASTE DO?
By itself, toothpaste can't really do anything. When you put it on your toothbrush, though, it becomes useful. As you rub your brush (with the toothpaste) against your teeth, the toothpaste works to remove food, stains, plaque, non-plaque bacteria, and other things that your toothbrush couldn't get on its own. Toothpaste doesn't aid in removing large things, like pieces of broccoli, for example. Some toothpastes leave stuff on your teeth that doesn't harm you, but harms microbes. This antimicrobial stuff protects your teeth against plaque, which is bacteria that forms over your tooth.
Fluoride, the active ingredient in most toothpastes, works with your saliva. At times when you haven't eaten for a while, your saliva adds calcium and phosphorous to your teeth. Fluoride makes these minerals harder, making your teeth stronger. After you have eaten, though, your saliva becomes acidic. It burns away the calcium and phosphorous on your teeth. Fluoride helps protect your teeth by making sure that not that much calcium and phosphorous is actually dissolved. This is why you should brush before and after eating.
WHERE'D IT COME FROM?
Toothpaste was around in Egypt as long ago as 5000 BCE. Though no one is sure, it is believed that the toothstick (a primitive toothbrush) had not been developed at this time, so Egyptians used their fingers to brush their teeth. Their toothpaste included:
Pumice is still used in dentistry
Greeks and Romans improved toothpaste some more. The development of toothpaste slowed considerably with the fall of the Roman Empire. There was not much progress on toothpaste after 0 BCE. Until the Persians started working on toothpaste around 1000 CE. One of the Persian's favorite recipes for toothpaste included dried animal parts, herbs, honey, and minerals.
More recently, the Colgate company introduced toothpaste in a jar in the US in 1886. Colgate toothpaste was the first toothpaste that was packaged in modern toothpaste tubes. In time, soap in toothpaste was replaced with synthetic sodium-based detergents. Eventually, it was found that fluoride in toothpaste protected teeth against decay. These two advancements is the reason why the active ingredient in most toothpastes is sodium fluoride.
WHY USE IT?
'Cause if you don't, bad things will happen. First, you will start to notice that your breath smells bad. Actually, you probably won't notice first. You're now-ex-girlfriend will notice first. Then the sugar that isn't getting cleaned off of your teeth will turn to acid, which will irritate your gums. Your gums will then get big and puffy. This will allow the bacteria which are not getting cleaned off of your teeth to have a lot of space to grow. Under your gums. The bacteria will eat away at your teeth, until they fall out. Then you will have to get dentures. Your only other option is to live with rabid dogs and eat raw meat flung to you through a hole in a plexiglass window. Or you could get dentures. Appetizing, eh?
Now that you have been enlightened on the inner workings of toothpaste, go brush your teeth. As for why you should use Listerine, that is another story for another day