History of Teeth Whitening

While modern teeth whitening using gels and trays has only been around since the 1980s that doesn’t mean that previous generations of people didn’t care about their teeth or were content to live with those yellow stains. In fact, for thousands of years people have been looking for and finding ways to whiten their teeth.

Early man didn’t even have a toothbrush to help remove food particles from their teeth or help keep them clean and white. However, they did use chew sticks which worked incredibly well at cleaning their teeth and keeping them healthy.

Ancient Egyptians believed that white teeth was a sign of beauty and so they searched for various methods to get their teeth as white as possible. One of the most effective teeth whitening treatments for this culture was to mix crushed pumice stone with wine vinegar and rubbed it on their teeth. While it did prove somewhat harsh it did whiten their teeth extremely effectively.


teeth whitening ancient egypt


The ancient Romans went even further with their teeth whitening using stale urine to bleach their teeth. Since stale urine was in effect a kind of ammonia and had to prove it’s whitening ability in bleaching out animal hides making them white, the Roman’s felt that it would have the same ability to give them the sparkling white teeth they found attractive.

While this method of teeth whitening seems disgusting to modern man ancient Roman’s found it to be a product that worked and worked well for them.

Throughout the years various other whitening products came and went until in the 1980s when dentists began using a form of hydrogen peroxide as a gum treatment and found that one side-effect of this substance was that it also made their patients teeth white removing stains and leaving teeth sparkling.

Today peroxide in used in a variety of products from toothpastes to gels and everything in between to allow people today a variety of ways to whiten their teeth. While these products show innovation and ingenuity no one knows how future generations may view the modern teeth whitening techniques of today.

Perhaps future generations will look at modern teeth whitening products with the same sense of disgust that modern man views the Roman’s use of urine. Until then, those who want whiter brighter teeth will continue using those whitening pens, gums, and trays in search of the ultimate smile. It seems that having those sparkling white teeth will continue to be a quest.

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