Before modern-day toothpaste was created, pharmacists mixed and sold tooth cream or powder. Early tooth powders were made from something abrasive, like talc or crushed seashells, mixed with essential oils, such as eucalyptus or camphor, thought to fight germs. Their flavors came from oils of cinnamon, clove, rose or peppermint. Many contained other chemicals such as ammonia, chlorophyll and penicillin. These ingredients fight the acid-producing bacteria that can cause tooth decay and bad breath.
Penicillin in early toothpaste? Wouldn’t people have noted infections clearing up?