I bought new toothpaste the other day. That may not seem like much but choosing a paste has become an extremely stressful, bi-monthly event in my life.

I’ve been a Crest guy for a long time. It used to be easy. There was Crest, Colgate and maybe Aquafresh, and then the orthopedic brands like Sensodyne. The biggest issue that ever came up was gel or no gel. As a kid I wanted gel big time but now I loath the slimy, glowing stuff. Then there was the whole “pump stage.” I relented and bought one but the dexterity required to actually operate the bloody thing brought a fast end to that experiment. Crest was my choice. Life was good.

But over the last few years every brand has morphed into a pinwheel of flavours and styles.  It’s like buying ice cream for pity’s sake. Personally, taste-wise, anything other than mint makes me want to vomit. I think it stems from bad memories of getting my teeth cleaned at the dental college versus the actual dentist. You see, I thought three or four hours was just how long it took to get one’s teeth cleaned. I still suffer from bubblegum fluoride flashbacks.

No, the trouble really started with the various add-ons to the toothpaste. Tartar control, whitening, baking soda, fluoride, etc. etc. One had this, the other had that. None had everything. I was kind of happy with Crest Complete but it still nagged at me that I was really missing out on the whole “whitening” revolution. Then I’d consider whitening toothpaste and worry that I was getting screwed out of tartar control. I was suffering a very real trauma each time my toothpaste tube emptied. This was not healthy, or particularly normal but that is another issue.

However, that frustration has melted away. I met Crest Pro-Health. I kid you not, professional toothpaste. Apparently I have been an amateur in the teeth department up to now. This tube claims to fight it all. Cavities, gingivitis, plaque, tooth sensitivity, tartar buildup, stains, and it freshens breath too. Stupendous! I bought with confidence. Finally, I was totally taken care of. I got it home and excitedly went to brush my teeth (yes, I am that much of a nerd – that’s why I write this column) and almost lost it when the paste came out as fluorescent blue gel. I was so ticked off. I tried it and found it had a grit and consistency closer to normal toothpaste than a gooey gel so I was cautiously on side.

Their ads have a very serious looking man explaining, of course, that this is the only paste that has everything and is approved by the American Dental Association. Now, for the record, I am sure they do good work but really, what genuine toothpaste exists in the world today that does not contain the ingredients required to be officially called “toothpaste” by the ADA. Maybe if you tried to sell a tube of bacon fat they might decline but I’m betting if the fluoride count was high enough they might even be able to bluff their way through that one.

I can’t complain though. Crest has come through for me. The anxiety I felt by not having everything in my toothpaste was surprisingly real. I am quite amazed by that. I didn’t even know how much it bugged me until I was safely under the influence of Crest Pro. Now I feel almost cocky about it. You can’t get me gingivitis. I got your number, chump. I hope they don’t invent toothpaste that flosses for you. That’ll put me back to square one again.

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