Toothpaste has long been one of those things I’ve stop thinking about. I buy the same toothpaste (preferably in a twin pack) every time I need it so that I don’t have to make any extra decisions while I’m at CVS (a potentially dangerous, expensive situation). It’s the same toothpaste my parents bought when I was a kid, and to be honest, I couldn’t even tell you the name: I just know it’s red, with a white stripe, and I think it’s Colgate. I think.
The move to make my toothpaste ~an experience~ is, point blank, not something I’m interested in. The New York Times reports that a few dentists, former beauty industry professionals, and Lenny Kravitz are hellbent on making brushing my teeth a somehow more enjoyable experience—inventing flavors like peppermint-vanilla-lavender, mixing in charcoal (so I can briefly look in the mirror and wonder if my teeth are all about to fall out? No thank you), and putting crystals in lip gloss that is supposed to make my teeth look whiter. To which I say, don’t waste your time!
Do you know what I really enjoy? Not having cavities. Not having to pay a high-ass dental bill on account of having cavities that must be filled. That’s why I brush my teeth twice a day. Sometimes thrice if I’m traveling or staying over at someone’s house or I don’t want my breath to smell. I don’t care what my toothpaste tastes like. All toothpaste tastes the same: wintry fresh. As I mentioned earlier, I also couldn’t care less what packaging it comes in and even what brand it is.
The toothpaste industrial complex has always suffered from the same problem I see in the skincare world: too many words. You’re telling me this shit is supposed to be detoxifying, whitening, brightening, and stain-protecting? Don’t those all mean the same thing? To avoid being bamboozled, one must disregard toothpaste marketing entirely. This new-age, self-care-ified toothpaste does nothing for me, because I have already automated this one area of my life.
If we’re being honest here (and I like to think we are all capable of that), fancy toothpaste is for one thing: Instagram. The packaging is nicer and the flavors are different. The charcoal doesn’t do anything. Fancy toothpaste is all for appearances: the appearance that you are ahead of the trends and that you have enough disposable income every month to shell out, like $25 dollars for a tube of “better” toothpaste. (If you are this person, CALL ME and I can give you some recommendations about how to better spend your money, on literally anything else at all.) But ALL toothpaste is designed for you to accomplish one thing: upholding the unspoken social contract that your breath must not stink in order to receive friendship, job opportunities, mutual respect in the checkout line, and tenderness from strangers. My trusty Colgate (?) toothpaste is very good at this, and I’m not looking to disrupt that relationship anytime soon.