What Was Used to Whiten Teeth in Ancient Times?

Have you ever wondered what ancient people used to whiten their teeth before modern dentistry? The answer might surprise you. Let’s explore the different methods used throughout history.

The Ancient Egyptians

The Ancient Egyptians were known for their love of beauty and hygiene. They used a mixture of ground pumice stone and wine vinegar to whiten their teeth. The abrasive texture of the pumice stone helped remove stains from the teeth while the vinegar acted as a natural bleaching agent.

The Romans

The Romans believed that urine had magical properties that could cure diseases and whiten teeth. They used to rinse their mouths with urine to whiten their teeth. Interestingly, urine contains ammonia which is still found in some modern toothpaste as a whitening agent.

The Greeks

Ancient Greeks used a mixture of crushed bones and oyster shells with honey to clean and whiten teeth. The abrasive texture of the bones and shells helped remove stains, while honey acted as an antibacterial agent.

The Chinese

In China, people used to chew on twigs from certain trees such as neem, cinnamon, and tea tree to clean and whiten their teeth. These twigs contain natural enzymes that help break down plaque, making them an effective way to maintain oral hygiene.

The Native Americans

Native Americans used to rub sage leaves on their teeth to keep them clean and white. Sage contains antibacterial properties which help prevent gum disease.


As you can see, ancient people had many creative ways of whitening their teeth. Some of these methods may seem strange or even repulsive today, but they were effective for maintaining oral hygiene in those times. Nowadays, we have access to modern dental procedures like professional cleaning and whitening treatments that are safe and effective for achieving a bright, white smile.