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Before soap and toothpaste, what did people use?
Posted by: greenman ()
Date: February 19, 2007 08:46PM

Are soap and toothpaste good inventions?
Is soap and toothpaste use necessary?
What are alternatives if necessary?

No system has ever as yet existed which did not in some form involve the exploitation of some human beings for the advantage of others. John Dewey 1921.

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Re: Before soap and toothpaste, what did people use?
Posted by: Melanie ()
Date: February 26, 2007 12:48AM

I wonder if certain diets were so pure that toothpaste was uneeded. Also, certain stringy vegetebles like celery could serve as dental floss. Or who knows, maybe before toothbrushes and toothpaste, people just had bad teeth. I don't know if things were ever perfect.

As for soap, I am a dry skin brusher which helps to clean skin. Tribes could have used natural bristles to clean themselves, too.

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Re: Before soap and toothpaste, what did people use?
Posted by: pakd4fun ()
Date: February 28, 2007 05:27PM

I think there was some sort of reed that was, as you said Melanie, stringy and they rubbed their teeth with it. I read about it once. I think certain muds must have been used for soap. Remember, life was way shorter then.

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Re: Before soap and toothpaste, what did people use?
Posted by: ILoveJen ()
Date: March 26, 2007 12:54AM

i've heard of people chewing on different twigs and sticks to clean their mouths.

I have heard of a lot of people who just use baking soda on their teeth.

here is what i do:

6 parts baking soda
1/2 parts green powder
1 parts sea salt

+ water

for me this works way better then tooth soap and I wish I had been using it all along.

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Re: Before soap and toothpaste, what did people use?
Posted by: TroySantos ()
Date: March 26, 2007 12:28PM

Jen [is this YOUR name? I like the implication of loving yourself :-)], I imagine you dissolve the baking soda and sea salt in the water, yeah? What's the green powder? What's it for? Does it help with remineralizing your teeth? Salt apparently helps that too.

You mentioned tooth soap. Do you mean the product ToothSoap? I used one bottle of the stuff. But I didn't do any of the other things that the lady says you have to do. And I didn't get any benefit from just using the product. Now I do more of the things she says, but I don't do her diet and I don't supplement. But I'm seriously considering it given what I've recently learned of the state of my teeth.

**Note. There are people who say that conventional toothpastes are all dangerous. Glycerin, flouride, SLS and other things in even the most "natural" of toothpastes are giving serious problems. Glycerin, they say, coats the teeth making remineralization impossible. So, use pure soap, some people say.

I read a few months back that using bamboo salt helps remineralize teeth. So I've been using it. Pure olive oil bar soap (they say don't use liquid soap) at night and bamboo salt in the morning. Haven't been using them for so long though. And I can't say that I've noticed any real benefits.

As for what people used to do before soaps and toothpastes, it depends on where in the world. But for sure, people used to chew on branches, like in India where people used to - and some no doubt do to this day - chew on branches of the tree called Neem. Kills bacteria I think. I'm told Thais used to chew on sugar cane. But that's seasonal!

Japanese and I think Koreans used to rub their teeth with salt. There are public baths here in Korea that have salt available for, I'm not sure what, but I've assumed it's for cleaning one's mouth in some way. I should ask a Korean person.

Some Indian tribes in California used to dig up a tuber called Soap Root and you guessed it, wash their bodies with it. It contains saponin, which makes foam, suds, in water. It's a mild toxin as well. So they used to "stun" fish with it. They'd mash some of the root in a stream or river, and when fish ingest the stuff they float up to the top of the water, and the people'd scoop the fish off the top. Easy easy easy fishing. The fish didn't die this way, the saponin is a mild toxin to fish. It stupefies them, stuns them. Indians used to wash clothes with the stuff as well.

It occurs to me, something like what Melanie says about things perhaps never have been perfect. Every living being, plant, animal, whatever, will die, at least physcially. So if a human or other animal never intentionally cleans their teeth, and something gets in between them and then the gums get infected, and eventually, the person or animal dies, well, that's just part of the way it goes.

Maybe my thinking is simplistic. But since everything will die, then there has to be some way to make death happen. And there are various ways.

Same with never washing. I guess. But it's not so clear for me to imagine as it is with keeping our mouths clean.

I studied anthropology in university. Now I'm overseas. And now I'm interested in health.

Life can be really very very interesting.



This way is not compatible with Zen practice. This way IS Zen practice. - Dr. Doug Graham

Nothing whatsoever should be attached to. - Buddha

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Re: Before soap and toothpaste, what did people use?
Posted by: macfly ()
Date: March 30, 2007 12:32PM

TroySantos Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Some Indian tribes in California used to dig up a
> tuber called Soap Root and you guessed it, wash
> their bodies with it. It contains saponin, which
> makes foam, suds, in water. It's a mild toxin as
> well. So they used to "stun" fish with it. They'd
> mash some of the root in a stream or river, and
> when fish ingest the stuff they float up to the
> top of the water, and the people'd scoop the fish
> off the top. Easy easy easy fishing. The fish
> didn't die this way, the saponin is a mild toxin
> to fish. It stupefies them, stuns them. Indians
> used to wash clothes with the stuff as well.

Man, that's incredible about their fishing method! I've not heard about that before. Primitive subsistence farming peoples here in Nebraska, along the Republican River, used Yucca Root for its saponin. And the fibers in the fronds of the plant are terrific for making cordage.

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Re: Before soap and toothpaste, what did people use?
Posted by: TroySantos ()
Date: March 30, 2007 08:46PM

The things that can be done with things we find in nature ... pretty incredible. Of course the lengths that we take these days to make nature useful to us is incredible in a way, but ... also pretty incredible in another sense. I majored in anthropology in university. Fascinating. Then went to Thailand and lived at a forest Buddhist temple. Learned so many fascinating things about how some people there use things from the forest. Great.



This way is not compatible with Zen practice. This way IS Zen practice. - Dr. Doug Graham

Nothing whatsoever should be attached to. - Buddha

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Re: Before soap and toothpaste, what did people use?
Posted by: pakd4fun ()
Date: April 01, 2007 07:51PM

You have done so many interesting things Troysantos. You are a neat person.

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Re: Before soap and toothpaste, what did people use?
Posted by: TroySantos ()
Date: April 05, 2007 10:30AM

Wow. Thanks pakyd, I hope you don't mind me fudging your name a bit! That was really kind of you to say this.



This way is not compatible with Zen practice. This way IS Zen practice. - Dr. Doug Graham

Nothing whatsoever should be attached to. - Buddha

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