From archeology and an understanding of the Egyptian way of life, they are believed to have been the first to use a paste to clean their teeth in or around 5000BC and this is where the story started … whether or not they did so before bedtime is unknown.

Example of what is believed to one of the very first tooth brushes – Egypt

Toothpaste a natural history – and which one should we use?

As our evening meal is a time of peak acid exposure, brushing immediately may potentially cause micro-erosive tooth wear, so wait at least 30 minutes after dinner before you brush.

So, always avoid snacking after that as the bacteria in the biofilm covering the teeth feeds off of any oral carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates

The absence of our antibacterial and pH buffering saliva at night, we are more vulnerable to cavity causing agents and gum drying (desiccation) and disease.

Eating carbohydrates constantly throughout the day also leaves people more prone to cavities of course. Clearly allowing the oral environment an opportunity to return to its normal pH is beneficial.

During a typical meal, your saliva levels are higher, working to protect your teeth and aid in digestion. eating throughout the day (or even slowly sipping a cup of coffee), are repeated “exposures” and increase bacterial growth.

Saliva can be used as an indicator of prognosis during periodontal treatment.

Within the limitations of this study, it has been observed that there is a correlation between pH of saliva and periodontal diseases when compared with healthy groups.

Salivary pH in patients with chronic generalized gingivitis was more alkaline than that in patients with clinically healthy gingiva. This is addressed elsewhere.

The most important thing to remember: It doesn’t matter exactly when you brush your teeth, so long as you head into the night without bacteria (and the food they feed on) in your mouth. Just be sure to brush again in the morning and floss too, to remove the bacteria from between your teeth .

As regards to toothbrushes, it is likely that the finger,  twigs or chewing sticks would have been used when there was reason to rub the teeth or to remove a foodstuff caught there.

The Egyptians are believed the first to make a tooth powder

The Egyptians made a tooth powder, which consisted of powdered ashes of ox hooves, myrrh, powdered and burnt eggshells, and pumice.

Ancient Greeks and Romans are also known to have used toothpastes, improved the recipes by adding abrasives such as crushed bones and oyster shells.

Toothpaste was used in China and India in around 500BC. The Chinese used added flavourings to their pastes such as Ginseng, herbal mints, and salt.

Like so many other inventions and customs, “toothpaste” generally worked its way westward. These “powder/pastes,” were probably used in conjunction with early toothbrushes (chewing sticks).

During the time Johnson was writing his best-known work the ‘Dictionary of the English Language’ and James Boswell was writing his “The Life of Johnson”, a biography of his friend Samuel Johnson – people were at that time, known to brush their teeth with a powder that was made up of mainly burnt bread.

In our society we only do this if we’re late for work – its called toast.