Back in January, an item in Bloomberg Businessweek caught my attention: chocolate toothpaste. Maybe because I needed to write “toothpaste” on my grocery list, or maybe because tooth-brushing remains an ongoing battle between me and my children. I see it as a big deal while they see as a big pain my harping about brushing.
I refuse to give up on encouraging better dental hygiene; however, I have far better things to do than post myself as dental sentry outside the bathroom after meals. I will be glad when they are old enough to become romantically involved with a someone who can take over my post on the plaque and breath brigade.
My fondest fantasy is to be a wall-adhered fly when the object of my son’s affection suddenly refuses to kiss him, complaining, “Dude, have you been eating dog poop?” or something similarly offensive regarding his rank breath. Hopefully that line comes from someone who tends to tell everyone everything. Having his abysmal oral hygiene outed might do my son some good in the long run. Or at least delay his denture adventure years.
Thank goodness those Proctor & Gamble (P & G) folks cited by Bloomberg reporter Kyle Stock have paired a great habit with a great flavor and come up with a sure-fire solution to the social ills of rotting teeth and rancid breath. There’s chocolate-flavored everything else, so why not toothpaste? I’m sure there’s a market for it. Just not with me.
I’m not big on chocolate. Oh, it’s okay, but what’s the point in eating or brushing with something that’s likely highly-caloric when it warrants only an “okay” within your ranking system? I’m not certain of the number of calories in chocolate toothpaste. Didn’t notice. Perhaps I was too busy quelling my revulsion at the three new chocolate-centric flavors P & G introduced: Mint Chocolate Trek, Lime Spearmint Zest and Vanilla Mint Spark.
Again, while I cannot declare this a case of my somewhat conservative, jaded opinions dipping into over-reactivity, where the heck did they come up with those flavors?! Hopefully it wasn’t while rolling and smoking the spearmint leaves.
What about Lime Spearmint Zest? That’s about as ambivalent a flavor as you could conceive. There’s a reason limes don’t grow in the same climate that produces spearmint. And then comes Vanilla Mint Spark, which smacks of people-pleasing – something for everyone. Neither vanilla nor mint has much of a kick, so the spark part of the equation had better get busy and bring the other two flavors along, to somewhere further along the dental health road less-travelled.
Revolting taste issues aside, another potential downside to the new chocolate toothpaste is if it goes the way of Dairy Queen treats, other companies will want to get into the action and candy bar flavors of toothpaste will flood the market: “Real Reese’s Pieces in every tube!” Chunks of actual candy will get stuck in teeth, which, of course, will necessitate brushing with some other, more neutral toothpaste. The solution will beget yet another problem.
I can’t rule out the non-preventive arm of the National Denture Designers Council is a silent partner in this chocolate-flavored toothpaste coup, seeing as how its membership stands to directly benefit from the fallout, literally when people’s teeth start to fall out. They may be realizing gains on both sides of the market by investing in P & G chocolate toothpaste stock. Faster than you can say “vicious cycle.”
“Chocolate toothpaste is squarely aimed at winning new customers. Maybe it can shake up the toothpaste market the way P & G’s Swiffer swept up mop sales or its Tide detergent ‘pods’ have been cleaning up in the laundry category,” wrote Stock.
My suggestion is for P & G to piggyback on those two successful ideas and develop a Swiffer toothbrush with the same cleaning potential. Why not create some time-released Tide dental detergent pods that would save the bother of squeezing out just the right amount of toothpaste? Pop one in your mouth and call it good.
Who needs chocolate when you can wash out your kids’ mouths with soap? My mom was way ahead of the curve on this one!