The other day I went to Target to restock on some necessities. Oreos, goldfish, milk, Fruity Pebbles, face wash, toothpaste. You know, the basics. When I got to the toothpaste isle I noticed for the first time that there are a BILLION types of toothpaste now. They even have swallowable (not a word, I know) toothpaste for little kids who can’t yet grasp the concept that fluoride isn’t good for you. And the only kind that keeps its packaging remotely similar looking through the years is Arm & Hammer (gross). Yellow box = not good marketing for clean white teeth in my opinion.
Anyhoo. I’m looking at the endless wall of shiny blue and white boxes trying to find the brand I usually get. I think its Crest, something to do with whitening and cavity protection. But as I inspect the boxes, I am torn. Do I want cavity prevention? Or do I want to prevent gum disease? Or guard against tartar buildup? Why can’t I have all of them in one? And why must I choose between protecting myself from a yucky gum disease and getting my teeth a little whitened also?
At this point I think I might need a Venn Diagram. Or at least a pro/con list.
I finally spot the box I usually get, which, shockingly, has changed the design of packaging yet again making it extraordinarily difficult to be a repeat consumer. Then as I’m examining and about to select my regular tube, I realize even within the brand / line of toothpaste I like (Crest Vivid White or 3D White, if you’re wondering) (the tubes are purple and match my bathroom decor…I’d be lying if I said this didn’t have a little to do with why I started getting it), there are a billion additional choices. All provide whitening so that’s good. All say something about fluoride and/or tartar and/or disease protection, so whatever. At this point I’m annoyed and as long as I’m getting some kind of healthiness provision and stain blocker / whitening action it’s all good. But there’s a sale. Two boxes of slightly smaller tubes for $5.30 or one slightly larger tube for $3.75. Now I have to do some math and figure out which one is actually the better deal. Do I really want an additional tube for 2 more dollars? Is it worth it to have additional stockpile of toothpaste? I reflect on how difficult a time I’m having selecting my paste and think yes, if I can prolong this gahdawful process longer than one-tube worth of time, I’m down.
I reach for the double box and realize I have yet another choice to make, and this one is possibly the most important. Flavor. Nothing worse than a toothpaste flavor that isn’t pleasing to the palate. There are 4 or 5 different kinds of mint. Now, I realize that mint is very variable. But somewhere along the line they abandoned regular and normal and expected food-related flavors for adjectives that make no sense when related to what something will taste like. Example: Radiant Mint. What does Radiant Mint taste like? And how do I know what Radiant Mint will be like compared to Fresh Mint, or Refreshing Mint, or Renewal Mint? None of these are flavors. You know what is a flavor? Spearmint. Everyone knows what Spearmint tastes like because there’s been Spearmint gum since like 1945 or something. Also Peppermint. Peppermint is normal and we know what it will taste like. I’ve seen Intense Mint and while that is not a normal flavor either, it portrays that the mint flavor will be intense and strong, and is therefore acceptable. Radiant is not a food adjective and neither is Renewal. Renewal especially makes no sense.
Why can’t adults have simple and understandable flavors like kids have? Bubblegum flavor. That is normal. I know what bubblegum tastes like. I might not want my toothpaste to taste like that (and subsequently my breath to smell like bubblegum as an adult…negs), but at least I’d know what to expect. What if I get Refreshing Mint and I actually think it’s gross? And if that’s the case, then I bought two boxes and I’m locked in to non-refreshing Refreshing Mint for 2 tubes worth of time. This is a big decision. I finally choose Radiant Mint for no other reason that it’s on a lower shelf and therefore easier for me to reach than the other options and I move on.
When did all of this toothpaste complication happen? And can we please circle back to to 3D White? What exactly does that mean? I think it’s a word-fad. You know, like in the early 2000s when e-whatever was a fad. Put “e” in front of everything and it’d be cool and new. I’m surprised toothpaste makers didn’t follow this trend. eMint! It’s eRefreshing! Provides noticeable eWhitening in just 3 eDays! Just like now how iAnything is a fad. We are in an iWorld. Maybe next up on Crest’s lineup should be iWhitening. iMint. It’s iRefreshing for your iTeeth and a pretty iSmile.
Yeesh. I guess we’ll see how my 3D Brushing goes when I crack open my new iTube of eToothpaste. Here’s hoping that Radiant Mint was a good choice. Maybe I’ll have a more radiant smile and radiant breath? Here’s hoping.
That’s over 800 words on toothpaste. Bet you didn’t think that was possible.