February 16, 2014

The Toothpaste Conspiracy Theory

You going to the neighbour's kitchen?

Yes, I smell Mangalore style fish curry.

Can you get me some toothpaste?


I asked if you could get some toothpaste on your way back.

Why should I get it?

I'm out of toothpaste. I thought I'll borrow some just for the day.

You go get it yourself. I don't like stealing things.

You steal food all the time!

That is different.

How is it different?

It's different because you're a human. And I'm a cat.

That is why I asked you to sneak in through their kitchen window, walk up to the attached bathroom and get the toothpaste. You can put it back in the same place once I am done.

Sorry I can't steal toothpaste. It's against my principles.

Stealing is not against your principles.

Stealing is not but toothpaste is. I don't believe in toothpaste.

What is there to “believe” in a toothpaste?

Why do you need toothpaste?

To brush my teeth.

Exactly. I don't believe in that.

You don't believe in brushing?

No. I am not against brushing. You should brush your teeth. Humans have always brushed their teeth. Not with the modern plastic bristled brushes you use today but with Neem twigs, rough cloth, pieces of leather, something or the other. Brushing is useful. Brushing is important. I am just not convinced about toothpaste.


Look at the statistics:

Correlation doesn't imply causality. Bad dental health in modern societies is because of the exceptionally high starch and sugar (and cola) content in our diet which our hunter-gatherer genes have not evolved to handle.

Alright, let me make an economics argument then:

What is this, a new conspiracy theory?

I'm not saying it is a conspiracy but think about it. In the last 20 years alone toothpaste companies have made your toothpaste green, blue, red, pink, orange, mint, peppermint, spearmint, vanilla mint, fennel, cinnamon, clove. They made it a transparent gel, half-gel half-paste, multi-flavored, multi-layered, multi-textured, added crystals, added fluoride, added sugar, added salt, added activated charcoal, bleaching agents, glycerin and a lot of other chemicals along with the the extra goodness of natural herbal extracts and then started removing them one by one saying sugar-free, low fluoride, no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, no non-veg, no crystals, no glycerin, no bleaching agents... what exactly is going on there?

Do you really need those advertisements having futuristic dentist labs with transparent touchscreen control rooms, college boys with low self-esteem, hot chicks with creepy sparkling teeth, ocean surfing stunts, concerned mothers, lazy fathers, four out of five dentists, 3D graphics, sciencey jargon and that forever-alone germ?

What forever-alone germ?


Here's a fun fact. The toothpaste actually plays a very marginal role in your oral hygiene.

Marginal role?

Yeah, it is the physical action of the brush against your teeth that does all the cleaning. Scientific studies have shown that any abrasive agent like rock salt or activated charcoal will work just as fine as any toothpaste in the world.

So The toothpaste doesn't matter?

The toothpaste doesn't matter.

All that foam?

Totally non-functional.

The blue crystals?

Just a placebo.

The 24 hour freshness guarantee?

It's a bamboozle.

The sugarcane-ripping, green-apple biting strong teeth?

Total humbug.


An outright hoax.

Damn it!

I know.

That explains all the advertising. If the toothpaste companies do not advertise as aggressively as they do, we will all go back to a no toothpaste world and it would make no difference whatsoever.

Some things exist only because they sound good in an advertisement.

That is true.

I was going through your kitchen stuff the other day. There was a jar of Boost and it had some weird tasteless yellow and blue crystals in it. The label says that they are “Envita nutrients that give you 3X stamina”. Now I’m not an expert on nutrition but that sounds like bullshit. I mean how is something blue in color even edible?

You licked my Boost?

I do it all the time. Here's the interesting thing. I ripped apart a packet of Surf Excel. And even that had little blue crystals in it. In fact, the same shade of blue. And the same weird taste as well. The label says that they are “power surfactants that remove the toughest of stains” and I was thinking, “Wow… these are some versatile crystals!”

They're everywhere, G2. Facewash, toothpaste, soap, chewing gum, ice-cream, shampoo, shaving gel, energy drink powder... these blue crystals are everywhere.

I know. Procter & Gamble is using these blue crystals like Mallus use coconut.

Why are humans working on improving soap and toothpaste like it holds the key to the cure for cancer? Haven't you, as the most intelligent species ever to walk the earth, noticed that a "New & Improved Formula" makes NO DIFFERENCE whatsoever?

We know but advertising is not exactly a democratic medium. People don't get to choose the ads they want to watch.

I mean why can’t all humans arrive at a consensus saying, “Look. I think we have improved toothpaste enough. We don't really need green tea flavored toothpaste. Let’s put our limited energy and natural resources towards solving more important problems.”?

Oh, that's not gonna happen. It goes against the very logic of advertising. They're in the business of making us buy things we don't need with money we don't have. It is their duty to throw that shit.

You know what, you should protest against this system. Show them the finger. Boycott toothpaste. It'll be fun.

No, I'm not boycotting toothpaste.

You should.

Get out of here!

What is the big deal? Even Gautama Buddha never used toothpaste. Is he not worthy of emulating?

Sure... I'll meditate but I'm not giving up toothpaste.

He meditated under the Bodhi tree for 49 days. Do you think he took breaks in between to brush his teeth twice a day? No. He would have never achieved enlightenment if he listened to his dentist!

I am not eliminating toothpaste from my life.

You know who else never used toothpaste?

Prophet Mohammad?

Yeah... yeah... the prophet too (peace be upon him) but let's not go there.

Disclaimer: No toothpaste tubes were stolen in the making of this post.