July 20, 2009

Eating the Toothpaste

I used to eat toothpaste. Crazy, I know.

This goes under the category of "good girl breaks bad." When you are a chronically good girl - the kind who stays out of the R-rated movies, never takes anything stronger than ibuprofen, and always, always keeps those dratted elbows off the table - well, you need to find a way to rebel.

So, I didn't brush my teeth. And I lied about it. Lied like a rug. To the point of wetting my toothbrush, smooshing toothpaste onto the side of the sink, and eating the minty-fresh Crest. All that trouble because I knew my folks would check.

Frankly, it would have been far, far easier just to brush already.

(And before you get too grossed out, I was like 9 at the time.)

So, as a former toothpaste gourmand, I'd really like to know why toothpaste for kids has gotten so darn complicated. Used to be there was just one choice: the aforementioned minty-fresh Crest.

And now?

Kids' paste is no longer pasty. It comes in a rainbow of colored gels, all filled with sparkly silver flecks. Because, of course, children are irresistibly attracted to shiny things.

Kids' paste no longer tastes like mint. It tastes like watermelon and bubblegum and chocolate (yes, chocolate). It never, ever tastes like mint. Ew, mint.

And the packaging? No more plain white tubes for today's kids. Oh, no. Their packaging is covered with every major character ever created, from Dora to Spider-Man to SpongeBob. And it comes in kid-friendly containers that stand up tall and squeeze from the middle and never actually empty. Big huge coup for the toothpaste companies, mind you - Look, it's easy! Look, you'll never get it all out! Here, buy more!

With all this hype, are my kids any more interested in brushing their teeth than I was?

Nope. They eat the toothpaste, too.

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