Chlorodont® toothpaste

Chlorodont® is the name of the first toothpaste manufactured in Germany. The word is made up of the terms chloros (Greek "green") and odon (Greek "tooth"). In this context, the color green stands for freshness and a peppermint taste.

What is Chlorodont®?

Chlorodont® is the first toothpaste that was industrially manufactured and packaged in metal tubes. Chlorodont® was invented in 1907 by the pharmacist Ottmar Heinsius von Mayenburg. He was the founder of the so-called Leonwerke, which were sold after the fall of the Wall. Chlorodont® was so successful because it was the first dental care product that sold well through attractive advertising. The inventor did educational work and was able to convince people that teeth could only stay healthy with regular care. His slogan was “The tooth is alive. Remember it and act accordingly. " The ingredients were tried and tested many times, so that the pasta would still do well on the toothpaste market today.

The toothpaste

Chlorodont® was sold in metal tubes that were easily accessible from the blue-green checkered stripes could see. In 1969 it was decided to change the design.

The ingredients of the toothpaste were Pumice stone powder, Calcium carbonate, Soap, Glycerin, Potassium chlorate and peppermint. The latter was aimed at improving the taste. Calcium carbonate and pumice stone powder were the cleaning elements of the toothpaste, which ensured the cleaning effect. Calcium carbonates are still used today, but pumice stone powder is no longer used. Glycerin acted as a humectant so the toothpaste did not dry out. Soap is the sodium or potassium salt of fatty acids and was used as a surfactant in Chlorodont®, as it is today. It reduces the surface tension of the toothpaste-saliva mixture and has a foaming effect. Potassium chlorate was the disinfectant component, but is no longer used for it today.

The main requirements for a toothpaste then were the same as they are today. Chlorodont® promised for dazzling White teeth to care, unpleasant bad breath to eliminate and against Dental plaque and Discoloration to act.

The toothpaste was offered in combination with a Chlorodont® - toothbrush and Chlorodont® - Mouthwash. This promised the best care of the teeth and comprehensive protection against bacteria.

How does Chlorodont® work?

Thanks to the different ingredients in the toothpaste, Chlorodont® succeeded in removing various types of dirt. The soap was considered a simple detergent. It acted like detergent and loosened grease and other substances from the tooth. Small micelles formed, i.e. small spherical groups, that caught the dirt inside. Pumice stone powder and calcium carbonate had an abrasive effect. Like the small cleaning balls that are still contained in toothpaste today, they rubbed the fresh plaque off the tooth.

According to advertising, the powder should make teeth whiter. The calcium content in calcium carbonate and calcium chlorate had a certain remineralizing effect on tooth enamel. Today we know that the enamel needs phosphorus and fluorine in addition to another calcium preparation. Calcium chlorate also has a disinfecting effect. The advantage of this material was that it was odorless and tasted sweet. Peppermint also provided the taste. Glycerine was only included to keep the toothpaste in the tube moist and to keep it from drying out too quickly.

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Instructions for use

The toothpaste was used just like today's pastes. The company advertised on its posters that they should brush their teeth at least in the morning and in the evening. Nothing has changed in this regard so far. In contrast to tooth powder, which used to be spread over the teeth with the fingers, Ottmar Heinsius von Mayenburg explained how to clean the teeth with toothpaste and toothbrushes. Since the toothpaste also contained substances that could be harmful to the body, the toothpaste should not be swallowed but spit out.

What should you know?

As it was previously promised in advertising that toothpaste would make teeth whiter, unfortunately, it cannot be scientifically proven. There is no over-the-counter toothpaste that is aggressive enough to bleach tooth enamel. Although the teeth appear lighter directly after brushing their teeth with certain pastes, this is due to the fact that you can perceive the difference between the color of the toothpaste and the cleaned white teeth.

Unfortunately, the enamel is rubbed off by the emery particles. As a result, the white enamel layer becomes thinner and thinner and the slightly darker, yellow dentin comes out more. The preparation calcium chlorate is no longer used today. No chlorine is used for disinfection, but chlorhexidine or triclosan. Today we know that in addition to calcium, the enamel also needs fluoride and phosphorus in order to remineralise itself. Calcium is therefore in the form of calcium carbonate or calcium fluoride. Since you don't swallow the toothpaste but spit it out again, hardly any of the controversial substances such as triclosan or fluorine enter the body's circulation. Rather, these are only applied locally. Today's fluorine-containing toothpaste has advantages over Chlorodont.

Where can I buy Chlorodont®?

Chlorodont® was one of the best-selling products in Germany until the 1980s. Since there are a large number of toothpastes on the market today that also contain flavorings and other health products, Chlorodont® has been pushed out of the market. After the fall of the Wall in 1990, the inventors of Chlorodont®, Leonwerke, were bought out. Chlorodont® was not produced again. Today you can only buy Chlorodont® advertising signs or collectibles. The real toothpaste Chlorodont® probably no longer exists. Although it was kept in metal tubes, it will no longer be usable today. Today, however, toothpastes are still produced by the same company and are still available on the market. For example Perlodont®, el-ce med®, and a herbal toothpaste elkadent®.

History of Chlorodont®

By 1900, the majority of people believed that the toothworm was responsible for tooth decay and that cleaning the teeth with mouthwash was enough to combat it. Although some scientists had already researched that this worm does not exist and that bacteria are responsible for bad teeth and the associated tooth loss.

The pharmacist Dr. Ottomar Heinsius v. Mayenbrug was also of this opinion and carried out research in the field, as he was convinced, among other things, that adequate oral hygiene can only be achieved with mechanical cleaning. The foundation stone for Chlorodont® was laid. Ottomar Heinsius v. Mayenbrug experimented for some time in the attic of the Löwen pharmacy in Dresden and in 1907 produced the first toothpaste. The initial skepticism of many scholars could not stop the triumphant advance of Chlorodont®, so that more and more people rely on this product when cleaning their teeth. It was machine made and sold in metal tubes. It became so successful that the Leo Works were built in Dresden Neustadt in 1917 to meet the high demand. Through targeted and extremely creative advertising campaigns, Leo-Werke made the leap to become the largest European toothpaste manufacturer with a wide range of oral hygiene products.

A tube of Chlorodont® cost between 60 pfennigs and 1 mark.

At the beginning of 1945 and in the course of the Second World War, the Leo factories were badly damaged by bombing raids, so that production could only be resumed towards the end of the year. Since then it has only been produced for the needs of the GDR and the Soviet Union. Seven years later the company was nationalized and given a new name: VEB Elbe-Chemie. Dental care products for the GDR were manufactured under this name until the end of 1989, until the name was changed again in 1990. The company was transformed into Dental Kosmetik GmbH & Co. KG Dresden and started production in new, modernized production facilities. Two years later, the company was re-privatized with ARGENTA Internationale Anlagegesellschaft mbH Munich as the owner.

Since the fall of the Wall, Chlorodont® has not been manufactured as a toothpaste any more, as the current owners lacked naming rights, among other things. However, it remains unforgotten to this day, as an exhibition in the German Hygiene Museum on the 100th anniversary proves.

Well-known brands of the company today are Perlodont® and Putzi®.