The Complex World of Toothpaste

I finally decided this morning that I had really squeezed everything I could out of my tube of toothpaste, after a couple of days of thinking the same thing. Finally today on my way home from work, I remembered and stopped to buy some more. I have to say, I just don’t understand the toothpaste industry.

As an example, here are the toothpastes Colgate offers:

  • Total Advanced Fresh – anti-bacteria to fight tartar etc, and freshens breath
  • Total – anti-bacterial, flouride for cavity protection (also available as gel).
  • Total plus whitening
  • Total Fresh Stripe
  • Sensation Whitening (also available: tartar fighting, and baking soda and peroxide)
  • Cavity Protection (green mint, winterfresh paste, or gel)
  • 2-in-1 whitening (fresh mint or tartar fighting)
  • Fresh Confidence with whitening – freshens breath, whitens teeth
  • (plus some other children ones, bubble-gum flavoured, etc. that I won’t bother to list)

Now, when it gets down to it, there’s really one thing toothpaste has to do: clean your teeth. Freshening your breath, preventing cavities, fighting tartar, whitening teeth – these are all good goals, but what exactly makes them mutually exclusive?!? I seriously don’t get it. Is it that hard just to make one kind of toothpaste that: cleans teeth, freshens breath, prevents cavities, fights tartar and whitens teeth? Or even make two – one with whitening, one without (after all, you don’t want your teeth to be too white).

Instead, the toothpaste companies feel it is necessary to make about 16 different products – each – causing people trying to buy toothpaste to stand slack-jawed in front of the display for 10 minutes trying to figure out which of the 100 possible choices is the best.

Ok so maybe I was bit harsh earlier. Two kinds of toothpaste is perhaps a bit slim. Really, it’s not a bad thing to have choice. Some people like mint, some don’t. Some like gel, some like paste. So why don’t they make combinations of those? Well, they sort of do. Except they’re all sub-variations of the different combinations of breath freshening and tartar fighting types, which just complicates things even more. I’m a simple man, I just want a simple toothpaste.

Now it’s time to go brush my teeth so I can go to bed.