The average UK citizen will brush their teeth over forty thousand times in their life time, using a staggering eighty liters of toothpaste. And it's such a routine part of our everyday lives. And the only time we think about it is when it runs out.
Now that's a shame because toothpaste is fascinating stuff. Tooth care remedy has been around for thousands of years. The world's oldest surviving formula is Egyptian, and it was made from mint, flowers, salt and pepper. It dates to the fifth century A.D. And by all accounts it worked very well, although it did have the nasty side effect of making your gums bleed. Having said that, it was far less hazardous than some twentieth century brands.
In the Second World War, German scientists from the nuclear industry developed radioactive toothpaste with thorium for their domestic home market. It cleanses. It kills germs. It's radioactive. Fantastic! Now why didn't that catch on?
So thorium wasn't a great idea, but other additives were much successful. In 1901, a dentist in Colorado Springs noticed that locals had far fewer cavities than was the norm. The reason was eventually tracked down to high natural levels of fluoride in the water. From this basic observation, fluoride quickly became the dental wonder additive of choice.
So what goes into modern toothpaste? And how does it work? Well, the number one ingredient is something abrasive, you know, something to scrub your pearly whites.
For this, toothpaste manufactories typically use baking soda, or chalk, or even silica (which is a refined type of sand), then many add whitener, flavoring, something to make you foam, something to bind it altogether and finally fluoride.
Now did you know you can make your own toothpaste out of simple household ingredients? For this recipe, all you need to do is mix three tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of salt. Then add three teaspoons of glycerin. Mix them all together with a dash of water. And finally add one teaspoon of peppermint, and hey presto: do-it-yourself toothpaste.
For a proper test of its effectiveness, I'm going to stain my teeth with licorice.
I have some very sugary pop.
Now my teeth feel awful. So let's put this homemade toothpaste to the test.
I feel that. Gosh! Seriously, feel good. I feel much better. It tastes quite minty, very abrasive. It's incredibly salty. But it's cleaning my teeth. I feel so much better.
And hopefully my teeth look a little bit cleaner. Um, homemade toothpaste: it works.
- 「用完、耗盡」- Run Out
And the only time we think about it is when it "runs out".
- 「據大家所說、據說」- By All Accounts
And "by all accounts" it worked very well, although it did have the nasty side effect of making your gums bleed.
- 「儘管如此、即使如此」- Having Say That
"Having said that", it was far less hazardous than some twentieth century brands.
- 「追蹤、搜索」- Track Down
The reason was eventually "tracked down" to high natural levels of fluoride in the water.
- 「我變我變我變變變」- Hey Presto
And finally add one teaspoon of peppermint, and "hey presto": do-it-yourself toothpaste.
- 「試驗，測試」- Put To The Test
Now my teeth feel awful. So let's "put this homemade toothpaste to" the test.