Colgate sells toothpaste in more than 200 countries © Apic/Getty Images
Colgate sells toothpaste in more than 200 countries © Apic/Getty Images

Colgate toothpaste: winning smile

21 February 2017

How a non-native New Yorker persuaded us there was more to dental hygiene than eggshells and burnt toast.

So when did we start using toothpaste?

The 19th century. Until then people had to use powders containing eggshells, burnt toast and salt. The first nice-smelling toothpaste was launched in 1873 by a candle and soap business founded in New York by Englishman William Colgate. This was sold in a jar until Dr Washington Sheffield put toothpaste in a collapsible tube known as Crème Dentifrice. Colgate soon launched its own tube, Colgate’s Ribbon Dental Cream, in 1896 and dominated the market until the 1950s.

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