The discovery of the Egyptian toothpaste concoction was presented in 2003 at a dental conference in Vienna, where some of the dentists sampled a replication of the ancient blend. "I found that it was not unpleasant," one dentist told the Telegraph. "It was painful on my gums and made them bleed as well, but that's not a bad thing, and afterwards my mouth felt fresh and clean" [source: Zoech].
As we mentioned previously, the Egyptians had a lot of trouble with their teeth, in large part because their bread had grit and sand in it, which wore out their enamel. While they didn't have dentistry, they did make some effort to keep their teeth clean. Archaeologists have found toothpicks buried alongside mummies, apparently placed there so that they could clean food debris from between their teeth in the afterlife. Along with the Babylonians, they're also credited with inventing the first toothbrushes, which were frayed ends of wooden twigs.
But the Egyptians also contributed a innovation to dental hygiene, in the form of toothpaste. Early ingredients included the powder of ox hooves, ashes, burnt eggshells and pumice, which probably made for a less-than-refreshing morning tooth-care ritual [source: Colgate.com]. Archaeologists recently found what appears to be a more advanced toothpaste recipe and how-to-brush guide written on papyrus that dates back to the Roman occupation in the fourth century A.D. The unknown author explains how to mix precise amounts of rock salt, mint, dried iris flower and grains of pepper, to form a "powder for white and perfect teeth" [source: Zoech].