White earthenware cylindrical pot of Woods areca nut tooth paste, made by W. Woods of Plymouth, English, 1901-1930
A growing range of tooth powders and toothpastes began to be commercially available in the mid 1800s. This pot would have contained toothpaste made from Areca nuts. Native to India, areca nuts have long been used in Ayurvedic medicines, and were also used in English toothpastes and powders. Here, the nuts were used to clean the teeth, freshen the breath and strengthen the gums as well as prevent tooth decay.