This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
A perfect tooth powder that will clean the teeth and mouth with thoroughness need contain but few ingredients and is easily made. For the base there is nothing better than precipitated chalk; it possesses all the detergent and polishing properties necessary for the thorough cleansing of the teeth, and it is too soft to do any injury to soft or to defective or thinly enameled teeth. This cannot be said of pumice, cuttlebone, charcoal, kieselguhr, and similar abradants that are used in tooth powders. Their use is reprehensible in a tooth powder. The use of pumice or other active abradant is well enough occasionally, by persons afflicted with a growth of tartar on the teeth, but even then it is best applied by a competent dentist. Abrading powders have much to answer for in hastening the day of the toothless race.
Next in value comes soap. Powdered white castile soap is usually an ingredient of tooth powders. There is nothing so effective for removing sordes or thickened mucus from the gums or mouth. But used alone or in too large proportions, the taste is unpleasant. Orris possesses no cleansing properties, but is used for its flavor and because it is most effective for masking the taste of the soap. Sugar or saccharine may be used for sweetening, and for flavoring almost anything can be used. Flavors should, in the main, be used singly, though mixed flavors lack the clean taste of simple flavors.
The most popular tooth powder sold is the white, saponaceous, wintergreen-flavored powder, and here is a formula for this type:
Precipitated chalk.. . 1 pound White castile soap... 1 ounce
Florentine orris...... 2 ounces
Sugar (or saccharine, 2 grains)......... 1 ounce
Oil of wintergreen... 1/4 ounce The first four ingredients should be in the finest possible powder and well dried. Triturate the oil of wintergreen with part of the chalk, and mix this with the balance of the chalk. Sift each ingredient separately through a sieve (No. 80 or finer), and mix well together, afterwards sifting the mixture 5 or 6 times. The finer the sieve and the more the mixture is sifted, the finer and lighter the powder will be.
This powder will cost about 15 cents a pound.
Precipitated chalk. .. 1 pound
Florentine orris...... 2 ounces
Sugar.............. 1.5 ounces
White castile soap. . . 1 ounce
No. 40 carmine...... 15 grains
Oil of rose.......... 12 drops
Oil of cloves........ 4 drops
Dissolve the carmine in an ounce of water of ammonia and triturate this with part of the chalk until the chalk is uniformly dyed. Then spread it in a thin layer on a sheet of paper and allow the ammonia to evaporate. When there is no ammoniacal odor left, mix this dyed chalk with the rest of the chalk and sift the whole several times until thoroughly mixed. Then proceed to make up the powder as in the previous formula, first sifting each ingredient separately and then together, being careful thoroughly to triturate the oils of rose and cloves with the orris after it is sifted and before it is added to the other powder*. The oil of cloves is used to back up the oil of rose. It strengthens and accentuates the rose odor. Be careful not to get a drop too much, or it will predominate over the rose.