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Toothpaste Trouble

Posted on Tuesday 19th June 2007 at 00:00
I'm standing in the toiletries aisle of the supermarket. My eyes scan along the shelves, first down one side and then the other. At last I locate the toothpaste, cunningly positioned right next to where I'm standing. There are quite a few different types, and I find myself feeling rather intimidated as I go to pick up the first one. The box is brightly coloured and the friendly writing on the side informs me that it contains Platinum Whitening Fluoride. Oh Good think I, I'll be able to flash my shiny white teeth at all the ladies I meet.

I put it in my basket and am just turning to leave, when I spot another toothpaste. This one claims to have Advanced Cavity Protection. Ah ha says the great brain, We need protection from cavities, and the more advanced the better! I drop the new toothpaste into the basket next to the other one and, now satisfied that I have both whitening and cavity protection, I start to move along the aisle.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spot a third toothpaste, this one claiming to offer me tartar control. Well, I don't think we can really do without good tartar control can we? I plonk it, too, into my basket, along with a fourth that will give me minty fresh breath for 12 hours, guaranteed.

The old lady buying a toothbrush a few feet away looks at my basket and makes a quiet tutting noise, as if to say 'Damn amateur shopper. Doesn't even know which toothpaste to buy!? I also look at my basket, and feel ashamed. I replace all of the toothpastes and instead pick up the one my mother always buys, before leaving the aisle as fast as I can.

Fast forward nearly three years and I still cannot tell you which is the best toothpaste to get. There are so many types, each claiming to do different things and I don't know which is the most important. Mouth wash is even worse. Every single flavour of Listerine claims to help clean a different part of your mouth.

Why? Why would anyone want clean gums but not cavity protection? Or tartar removal but not fresh breath? It's like being asked to choose between a car with wheels but no engine and a car with an engine but no wheels. You think by now someone would have come up with an all round product that will do all of these things and not force you to brush your teeth 18 times a day with different pastes, just to be sure your dentist won't be taken ill when they next look inside your mouth.

If anyone ever does, I reckon they'll become a millionaire.

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