Toothpaste is not what it used to be, and this past Winter Olympics got me to thinking about it. First, there was the exploding toothpaste thing because some genius figured out how to cram a bomb into that little tiny tube. Then came my best kid-friend. Jack dragged me into the bathroom to not only see the nauseating color of his blueberry toothpaste but to witness him brushing his teeth with it. Mistaking my slack-jawed gaping mouth for envy, he offered me a “hit.” Which for the under-10 set doesn’t mean what it did when I was 17.
As if swallowing toothpaste wasn’t already bad for you, now we’ve got toothpaste in tasty flavors and enticing colors. Last time I looked, toothpaste had four major ingredients. Abrasives, detergents, fluoride and a foaming agent. Do these sound like snack foods to you? I’m hoping you said, “No.”
Truly, there’s an injunction against swallowing toothpaste. I know because on the back of Jack’s blueberry toothpaste the label says: “Do not swallow.” I read it just as he was swallowing the toothpaste and going back for another “hit.”
Who can blame the kid? Bubblegum, blueberry, vanilla mint, orange and chocolate flavors kids like, and companies know that. Here’s the company’s “wow-maybe-you-didn’t-think-it-through” flaw. (1.) The target audience is kids. (2.) Kids are stupid. (3.) Some adults are stupid, too, but not in the same way. (4.) If it tastes good, once you get it in a kid’s mouth, the kid ain’t going to spit it out, he’s swallowing it.
When I was a kid, I had to walk three miles through the snow to get to . . . wait a minute, wrong analogy. When I was a kid, we had two flavors, regular and not-regular. Regular tasted like white paste with a full-bodied grittiness, a delicate medicinal bouquet and an astringent after-taste.
Fennel, cinnamon clove, anise, apricot, peach and . . . wait for it . . . bacon-flavored toothpaste seem to be for adults. I do not want my mouth to remind me of a cinnamon and clove encrusted apricot hanging closet sachet.
Bacon toothpaste is “the perfect way to keep your teeth and gums healthy while coating your mouth with the delicious flavor of smoky meat!” An online reviewer complains her box arrived “beaten up, lopsided and torn.” She thinks maybe someone tasted it before her. Yeah, like all those dogs chasing the delivery truck down the street.
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