the toothpaste aisle from hell

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i have a tic. i’ve been out of the PTA gig for seven months now, so that’s not the reason. the kids went back to school today after 5 days home (end of the quarter + mental health day), so that’s not it. i think it’s from being in the toothpaste aisle for 20 minutes yesterday at Wegman’s and losing my mind.

it’s no surprise to me when i shop for toothpaste that it’s near the pharmacy area of my local store and that the people who work in the pharmacy work behind glass and wear special busi-hazmat suits and sometimes protective eyewear to shield them from the long-term exposure to the fluoride. the mere metallic tubes it comes in apparently isn’t enough for daily management of the product.

i can only ascribe the severity of my current nervous affliction to the myriad toothpaste choices available.

there’s Crest, Colgate, Tom’s of Maine, Aim, Aqua-Fresh, Oral-B, Arm & Hammer, Sensodyne, Pepsodent, Gleem, Rembrandt, Pearl Drops (toothpaste for porn stars) and a dozen others, not to mention the in-house generic, oh, excuse me “signature” brands. you want a flavor?: cinnamon, fresh mint, mint with sparkles, mint with stripes, two tubes that contain products whose properties can’t mingle due to the chemical reaction that must only occur upon placement onto the brush. textures: gel, gel with stripes, straight-up paste that is opaque and so 70s, so that can’t be any good. then there’s the “what’s your poison”: tartar control; whitening; tartar control with whitening; sensitive; sensitive with tartar control with whitening. tartar control with breath freshener; tartar control with germ killer; tartar control with pine sol.

no? no pine sol? oh. you mean it’s not a toothpaste and a disinfectant floor cleaner? my bad.

what if i want toothpaste that tastes like rotten eggs and does nothing extra for me whatsoever? i resent the fact that i have to pick a toothpaste that has a minty flavor. if i want bubble gum flavor or a fruit (bluch) flavor, i have to go to the children’s toothpaste section (DON’T make me go there).

did you know they have 3D toothpaste now?

3D … i mean like, what?  that you have to wear greytone glasses and stand in front of a special mirror to make it work… right? and there’s something called “Optic White” … what is that? do i put it on my eyes first and then my teeth look better?

you can’t get “standard transmission” or “K-car” toothpaste anymore. it DOESN’T exist. you have to get the ferrari toothpaste. the kind with options. and if you price this stuff out per pound … it’s like caviar. (i think.) in 1998, Rembrandt toothpaste cost $45 per POUND. nope… caviar costs $2400 per pound, my bad again. granted, my stats are freaking old, but really… so is the fact that there are roughly 75 different types of TOOTHPASTE. it’s like geneticists are just screwing around in the labs…

soon, there will be an antibacterial toothpaste. watch.

i just Googled “toothpaste choices” and apparently CBS news dedicated a segment to the cultural phenomenon last February. i feel validated to know that i’m not alone. thank you CBS. i guess you’re not for old people anymore. just for people like me, neurotics who can’t figure out how to buy !)@!*$% toothpaste.

so i decided to go all 21st century shi-shi new age on the mission.

yesterday when i was in the aisle i asked a pharmacy tech, the one who looks like an Anglo Geisha to tie my bandana from my thigh around my head to cover my eyes. i didn’t want to take the one off my head ’cause my roots need to be dyed. she didn’t mind waiting.

then i asked her to spin me round and round and then walk me in the direction of The Best Toothpaste Choices. before turning me around a couple times i decided that i would appeal to the toothpaste spirit, St. Bicuspid of Floss and that with the tech holding me and my channeling of the spirit, she would divinely guide me to the best possible selection. so the experience went like this:

“oh, St. Bicuspid of Floss (quarter turn to right) please bless me in my toothpaste selection (more to the right) and make it virtuous (turn to the left) and that i will be good about brushing (two steps back) and that it will leave my teeth and gums feeling clean (abrupt turn to the left about halfway) and protected for 24 hours (quarter turn to the right, slight step back + pinch on shoulder) and made with organic mint (slight pause, toe tapping and light hum from Anglo Geisha and then turn with Intention to the left) and that it will protect me from tartar (slight stop, adjustment to the left) build-up (turn to the right), and gingivitis (reverse course to the left), and aid in sensitivity (three steps to the left + turn) and kill germs (shove onto the floor) oh, and that it will also freshen my breath (no direction).”    

i opened my eyes and found myself in the wine aisle. i thought to myself: “well, this makes sense. if i drink enough of this i won’t care about my teeth.”

the whole experience gave me PTTASD: post-traumatic toothpaste aisle stress disorder. i guess i’ll have to go to the pain reliever aisle to treat my malady. i think i’ll just buy what’s on sale. but not before swinging by the wine section again….

thank you.

9 responses »

  1. one of the last times i went to the dentist, it seemed like it took everything for the tech not to say, "jesus christ, do you even brush your teeth?" i asked her if something was wrong, and instead of what she, clearly, wanted to say, she politely asked, "What kind of toothpaste are you using now, hon." i told her that i'd switched to the organic stuff, that i'd heard fluoride was bad and i was avoiding it. she said, "oh honey, that organic stuff doesn't work," with her best demeaning smile. i left with a goodie-bag of 20 toothpaste samples and an appointment reminder for the following week. –i never went back; i still use the organic stuff; i decided that she gets a stipend from the toothpaste companies to do and say those things;)

  2. kat! "hon." was this in b'more? i bet you're totally right that they get stipends. i can't remember the brand that dan and i had when we were first married, but it was the kind with the two tubes that functioned on one pump and the products inside the tubes weren't supposed to mingle until they reached the brush. dan's mom bought it for us… she loves new stuff. thanks for stopping by! xoxo -m

  3. Just let me cut and paste my comment from facebook .. .. that I posted without even knowing. We are on the same page, dear … or shall I say, in the same aisle. :-)<< There is no way in this day and age that anyone can ♥ buying toothpaste. It is one of the MOST painful parts of the general shopping experience, right up there with buying shampoo. Should it be necessary to have to choose between toothpaste that cleans your teeth, whitens your teeth, freshens your breath, etc, etc?? Is there a reason (other than marketing and big business) that every toothpaste shouldn't clean and whiten and freshen? Should these really be special features? >>

  4. hello jas-a-h-m! i'm relatively new to cruising the blogosphere, but i like your handle so i'll swing by your page! yes. toothpaste shopping ranks right up there with … well, shopping with a toddler. and i'm glad to know we're in the same aisle… we can't be alone on these endeavors. meet you near the analgesics later. 🙂 thanks for commenting!

  5. dude. thank you absent the Anglo Geisha (have you seen her btw @ the store that starts with a T? — she's freaky clever cute unique freaky)… i've literally closed my eyes and just gone where the energy guides me. the wine aisle.

  6. This reminds me of the time I convinced my college roommate, who was using baking soda on occasion to really scrub his teeth, that if he added some white vinegar to a bowl of baking soda and used that paste to bush, he'd get the really white. He was not very happy with me or the resulting mess.

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