You might think this is a trivial issue - but something is bothering me!
If I'm perfectly honest, it's been lurking in the back of my head for a little while, but only in recent weeks have I started to articulate my thoughts.
SO why haven't I come out and spoken about it before? Well for one thing, I don't want to appear thick. Is this, I ask myself, something about which I should KNOW, instinctively?
Secondly, I don't want to seem ungrateful at what is being provided for me. And I certainly don't want people to think I don't want to look after myself, because - of course - I do!
What is it occupying my time and thoughts?
Well.... it's the HUGE range of TOOTHPASTE which is on the market!
Just watching the TV I've become aware of this phenomenon. There's...
- Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
- Toothpaste which Whitens your Teeth
- Toothpaste which is designed to ensure the gaps in between your teeth are clean, as well as the parts of the teeth which can be seen by the world
- Toothpaste to combat tooth DECAY!
- Toothpaste which stops GUM DISEASE!
- Toothpaste which ensures the enamel on our teeth doesn't disappear
- Toothpaste which gets rid of that scourge of us all - PLAQUE!
- Toothpaste which irradicates that other source of terrible shame - TARTAR!
That's just for starters. I'm sure you can add more.
Just strolling down the aisle of my local supermarket today, I was once again reminded of all the different types of toothpaste available to me. White, green, pink, striped. Minty and unflavoured. There are gels, and pastes, and even powders! It's all so confusing!
Returning home, I was determined to do more than just be competely baffled. So I turned to that trusty aide - my computer. Here's where my problems really started. There are literally hundreds (if not more) websites devoted to teeth, toothpaste and all things orally hygenic!
Some are just informational, others more educational. There are those which are designed for younger teeth, some are historical and just plain scary, others just a bit of fun. Toothpaste, it appears, can be used for much more than whitening/saving/cleaning your teeth!
I know that the arrival of toothpaste in our world means that, generally speaking, the dental health of the globe has improved considerably. No longer, as in the past, do people need to devise wooden pegs for false teeth which were, apparently, available and in use (in Japan at least) until the early part of the 20th century. Now THAT's scary!
But really - do we have to have QUITE such a range of options on the toothpaste front? Is the vast numbers of pastes, gels and more on the Toothpaste shelves at the supermarket more to do with sales and advertising than anything else?
AND SO WE COME TO THE QUESTION WHICH HAS BEEN BOTHERING ME FOR A WHILE ....
Why can't we have a toothpaste which Whitens, ensures Good Sensitivity, protects Gums, fights Tooth Decay, Plaque and Tartar, cleans the secret and hidden parts of our mouths as well as the bits on public display, freshens our breath and does everything we want it to do - all in ONE PRODUCT?
It is, I'm guessing, not entirely because the producers of dental products are committed to the general improvement of the dental world. I'm GUESSING that there may be something in it for the conglomerates who sell the products. I know - I'm such a cynic!
I'm also guessing that if ... if .... someone was to produce that ONE SINGLE PRODUCT which did everything we'd ever want and need in a toothpaste, there would be no requirement for the plethora of expensive dental product advertisements. We would all be happy with our little tube of DO IT ALL TOOTHPASTE and the advertising industry wouldn't have to spend endless hours coming up with slogans and jingles, sourcing people with already perfect teeth to show us how our teeth should really be, and dentists happy to promote one particular brand.
Yes, I guess with the development of that one perfect toothpaste there would be a lot of people out of work! That's the way of the world!
I've nothing (much) against the worlds of product development and advertising....but sometimes it all seems a bit pointless, doesn't it?
I am sure there will be those out there who will want to comment on why (scientifically) we need all the different pastes and gels and liquids, and powders. There may be some wanting to defend the members of the advertising industry who spend days, weeks and even months in a room devising new ways of selling another new product to the unsuspecting general public. And, of course, there will be those who will wish to champion the different manufacturers of toothpaste who need to keep producing new products to keep us all happy.
You can see why I've been loathe to come out on the subject before.
It's not that I don't care about my teeth - I am actually a fantatical brusher! It's not that I'm unintelligent, but really the science behind toothpaste is beyond me, I'm not ashamed to admit it!
And, of course, I'm very very grateful for toothpaste. In previous centuries I might already be toothless and having to gum all my food to death, or having to use bits of stick to scrape the nasties off my nashers. I might have had to turn to the kitchen where baking soda on a rag would have had to suffice for teeth scrubbing, or I might have had to clean out the fireplace to get some woodash to smear on - actually, I've discovered, some still swear by those remedies. If I was not so fortunate as to be able to afford toothpaste I might be with the many millions in the world today who still use sugar cane and other twigs to clean their teeth, or just don't bother with oral hygeine because it's more important to eat and ensure their children eat!
But - and this is where I enter the world of imagination and fantasy and my mind begins to roam once again. I wonder if we might ever return to a more simple time when toothpaste was just for cleaning teeth - nothing more, nothing less? No hype, no complicated science, no guilt. Just toothpaste!