The Mysterious Case of the Radioactive Toothpaste

Radiation and the harm it can do to humans wasn’t well understood in the early years after it was discovered. There were all kinds of exciting radioactive products for the public to buy, from radioactive butter to…..well, toothpaste. During the 1920s, the German company Auergesellschaft produced a toothpaste called Doramad, which contained thorium — a weakly radioactive metallic chemical element — as the active ingredient. It was advertised as being great for fighting gum disease and polishing enamel. Tubes of Doramad made bold (and false) claims on their labels: “Its radioactive radiation increases the defenses of teeth and gums. The cells are loaded with new life energy, the bacteria are hindered in their destroying effect.” This was flagrant false advertising, and thankfully the radioactive toothpaste craze didn’t last long. Thankfully, nothing so dangerous as radioactive materials has become a popular dental fad in modern times, but it’s still a good idea to avoid getting dental health advice from unofficial sources. If you’re looking for a good toothpaste for you, just ask your dentist.