Bad breath in ancient Egypt often was a symptom of poor dental health. Seems the stones they used to grind flour for bread contributed a lot of sand and grit to their diet, which wore down tooth enamel to expose the pulp of the tooth and making it vulnerable to infection.
The Egyptians didn't have dentists to fix
their deteriorating teeth and gums. Instead, they simply suffered,
and scientists who examined mummies have found severely worn
teeth and evidence of abscesses, even in youthful Egyptians. To cope
with the unpleasant odors from their rotting mouths, Egyptians
invented the first mints, which were a combination of frankincense,
myrrh and cinnamon boiled with honey and shaped into pellets.
Archaeologists also found toothpicks buried alongside mummies,
apparently placed there so that they could clean food debris from
between their teeth in the afterlife. Along with the Babylonians,
they're also credited with inventing the first toothbrushes, which
were frayed ends of wooden twigs.
The Egyptians also contributed toothpaste. Early ingredients included the powder of
ox hooves, ashes, burnt eggshells and pumice. They also found what appears to be a
more advanced toothpaste recipe and how-to-brush guide written on
papyrus that dates back to the Roman occupation in the fourth
century A.D. It explains how to mix precise amounts
of rock salt, mint, dried iris flower, and grains of pepper, to form
a "powder for white and perfect teeth"