The average UK citizen will brush their teeth over 40 thousand times in a life time, using a staggering 80 litres of toothpaste.
And it's such a routine part of our everyday lives that the only time we think about it is when it runs out.
Now that's a shame because toothpaste is fascinating stuff. Tooth care remedies have been around for thousands of years, the world's oldest surviving formula is Egyptian and it was made from mint flowers salt and peppers. It dates to the 5th century AD and by all accounts it worked very well, although it did have the nasty side effect of making your gums bleed, having said that it was far less hazardous than some 20th century brands.
In the second world war German scientists from the nuclear industry developed a radio active toothpaste with thorium for their domestic home market.
It cleans it kills germs, its radio active, fantastic. Now why didn't that catch on?
So thorium wasn't a great idea, but other additives were much more successful.
In 1901 a dentist in Colorado Springs noticed that locals had far fewer cavities that was the norm, the reason was eventually tracked down to high natural levels of fluoride in the water. From this basic observation fluoride quickly became the dentists wonder additive of choice.
So what goes into modern toothpaste? And how does it work?
Well the number one ingredient is something abrasive you know something to scrub your purely whites.
For this toothpaste manufacturers typically use baking soda or chalk or even silica, which is a refined type of sand, then many add whitener, flavourings, something to make it foam, something to bind it all together and finally fluoride.
Now did you know you can make you own toothpaste out of simple household ingredients?
For this recipe all you need to do is mix three table spoons of baking soda with one table spoon of salt, then add three tea spoons of glycerine, mix them all together with a dash of water and finally add one tea spoon of peppermint and hey presto, do it yourself toothpaste.
For a proper test of it's effectiveness I'm going to stain my teeth with liquorish and some very sugary pop.
That'll fur them up that'll do a treat.
(Richard shows his dirty teeth)
Now my teeth feel awful, so let's put this home made toothpaste to the test.
Actually that does seriously feel good, so much better. It tastes quite minty, it's incredibly salty, but it's cleaning my teeth and it feels so much better. And hopefully my teeth look a little bit cleaner. Mmm homemade toothpaste it works.