For as long as humans have been using tools, we’ve been cleaning our teeth! From toothbrushes made out of sticks, to dental floss made out of horse hair, we have always been mindful of our oral health. But what about mouthwash? When did we start swishing liquid around hoping for cleaner mouths?
Ancient Roman Mouthwash
There are references to mouthwash in Chinese, Greek, Egyptian and Roman literature, but the most well recorded early instances of humanity using mouthwash comes from ancient Rome, in A.D. 1. The Romans used to buy bottles of Portuguese urine and use that as a rinse. GROSS! Importing bottled urine became so popular that the emperor Nero taxed the trade. The ammonia in urine was thought to disinfect mouths and whiten teeth, and urine remained a popular mouthwash ingredient until the 18th century.