Egyptian toothpaste was made by grinding and mixing up a variety of salt, dried flowers, pepper, ashes, and even eggshells. This abrasive paste was then rubbed in using either the finger or a primitive form of the toothbrush, made out of frayed twigs. Although this served surprisingly well in cleaning the teeth, the toothpaste may have done more harm than good, as its gritty texture resulted in bleeding gums.
For those who succumbed to the perils of dental decay, the Egyptians came up with another innovation: breath mints. To disguise the acrid smell of rotting teeth, ancient Egyptians sucked on drops made of boiled honey and flavored with fragrant herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, myrrh, or frankincense. They also added mint to their toothpaste to improve the breath, a practice which remains ubiquitous in dental products today.
5. Tables (And Other Furniture)
The humble chair and table might seem like a fairly mundane part of everyday life. However, before ancient Egyptian inventions such as tables and chairs, people simply sat on the floor or small stools, and used large blocks or primitive benches as surfaces. And then, around the mid-third millennium BC, came an explosion in the art of furniture, as intricately carved items began to be created in Egypt.
Mainly made out of wood and alabaster, Egyptian tables consisted of a smooth platform raised off the ground with either a pedestal or legs, which were sometimes separate or detachable elements. Their purpose was much the same as modern tables, with evidence of ancient tables used for dining, writing, and playing board games.
The Egyptian chair, however, was quite different. It was not a universal piece of household furniture found in any home or public place, but instead a status symbol, a luxury enjoyed only by the elite. While peasants and farmers might sit on stools, the wealthy or royal Egyptians had proper chairs with backs and armrests. Ancient chairs have been discovered fashioned out of precious materials, such as ivory and ebony, embellished with expensive metals, and meticulously decorated with the carved figures of animals, plants or deities.
6. The Calendar And Timekeeping
When it came to time, the Mesopotamians had paved the way by creating the sexagesimal system. However, today’s recognizable calendar and methods of timekeeping were Egyptian inventions. Based on the cycles of sun and moon, the Egyptian calendar was divided into twelve months of 30 days each, along with five additional days at the end of the year to bring the total up to 365. It is plain to see how this invention has stood the test of time. Unlike us, however, the Egyptians recognized only three seasons, which were used by farmers to determine when crops needed to be sown and reaped.