Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Now that I’ve broached the topic of personal cleanliness with my recent post about soap, we may as well go on to talk about another weapon in the daily hygienic armamentarium: toothpaste.

There has been a massive proliferation of toothpaste options of late, driven by the ever-important need for each brand to grab as much shelf space as possible. So a walk through the toothpaste aisle at the local grocery or drugstore now requires a certain degree of focus, so as not to end up curled up on the floor in a drooling heap, the Smoke o’ Indecision wafting out your ears.

It’s not just Crest, Colgate, Pepsodent, and Ipana anymore (anyone even remember Ipana?). Now, each brand has whitening, extra whitening, whitiest whitening for whitey, baking soda, mint, minty mint, minteroonie, und so weiter. And that’s without even looking in the Natural Foodz™ aisle, home to Tom’s of Maine, Tim’s of Michigan, and Terrence’s of Minnesota. They got toothpaste with propolis, Petropolis, Pappadopoulis, and Metropolis.

Me, I mostly use Colgate – your basic, non-fancy kind without the sparkly crap on the box. But I don’t mind a little variety. Elder Daughter, when in Uganda recently, was kind enough to score me a tube of my favorite Colgate flavor - Colgate Herbal, available only in select third-world countries. I’m saving it for a special occasion. But meanwhile, I’ve been using Aquafresh Extreme Honkin’ Whitening, not so much for its (questionable) ability to keep coffee stains from embedding themselves in my enamel, but because it just tastes good. And it comes in a real metal foil tube, which appeals to the nostalgia-hound in me.

Speaking of Dentifricial Nostalgia, anyone remember tooth powder? My Grandpa Abe used to use Dr. Lyons Tooth Powder, a venerable brand, and I even bought a few cans of it myself when I was in college. To use it, you’d shake a little pile into the palm of your hand and pick it up with a wet toothbrush. It was a little like brushing your teeth with Ajax, only mintier. The Dr. Lyons brand is gone, alas, but there are still a few manufacturers of tooth powder out there, thanks to a handful of dinosaurians who believe that it cleans the teeth better than modern toothpastes. You could also chew on a bar of Lava soap, I suppose.

So: what toothpaste do you favor? (Assuming, of course, that you have teeth and brush them occasionally.)

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