Toothpaste is supposed to taste like mint. The type of mint taste is negotiable; it can be spearmint, peppermint or wintergreen. There is no other possibility. Mint freshens breath, brushing freshens breath, so toothpastes should be mint flavored. This was the rule for a long time.
In the 1980s, toothpaste companies started making special flavored toothpastes for kids. They determined that kids don’t like mint toothpastes, and they put out lines of flavored toothpastes like bubblegum, cotton candy, grape, chocolate, cola, strawberry, vanilla and cookies. These flavors were determined by adults to appeal to children. Most “kids” products are just that, determined by adults to appeal to children. Of course, there’s some market research done, and they do consult children about their preferences, but, in the end, it’s the decision of men in suits in large high-rise offices. Very often, the toothpaste companies will team up with something else that appeals to kids: Crest has a line of “Sesame Street” flavors and Colgate has special editions that change (most recently they have been Dora the Explorer, Barbie, Spiderman and Sponge Bob). These special editions come in flavors such as “bubble fruit,” “watermelon” and “banana.” I don’t have children, so I don’t know if they really appeal to children, or, if they DO appeal to children, is the appeal because of the character associated with the toothpaste or because of the flavor. If a toothpaste isn’t mint, I feel it’s not doing its job. I think children deserve the fresh-breath-creating mint flavor just as much as adults do!
When these flavors migrate into the adult world, they become an abomination to mouth care. Luckily, most of the major toothpaste manufacturers don’t even consider making non-mint flavors. They leave it to smaller, more “boutique” companies like Tom’s of Maine, Marvis and Earthpaste. These companies make a living off providing non-mint flavors to adults who want to go against convention; go against all things that are normal and right! These companies have fruit flavored toothpastes and they have toothpastes in unthinkable flavors (like bacon, ginger, orange, almond, lemon and pickle). Sometimes they name their flavors things like “cool and fresh” or “melt in your mouth.” I think these flavors survive because it brings people back to the time when they were kids. The “kid” flavors emerged in the 80s, and there are a lot of adults these days who were kids in the 80s. These strange, non-mint, flavors are a throw-back to those times. It makes people remember what it was like when they were kids and brushing with bubblegum or grape flavored toothpaste. Well, you’re adults now…..deal with it! Brush with normal, mint-flavored pastes!
What led me to write this entry is the new line of Crest “Be” toothpastes. Crest knows they can’t deviate from the mint too much, so they have created a line of toothpastes with non-mint mixed with mint flavors. Each of the new flavors has a catchy name like “Be Adventurous,” “Be Inspired” and “Be Dynamic.” These toothpastes come in flavors like mint chocolate trek, vanilla mint spark and lime spearmint zest respectively. Crest has designed flavors that not only appeal to the child in the 80s, but also to people who feel the need to be different. Of course, they’re still mint flavored, so they don’t deviate too much. I’m very disappointed in Crest. They are the #1 selling toothpaste, and that’s only with their selection of mint flavors. Why did they feel the need to move to non-mint flavors? Why did they need to deviate? Apparently, the American public isn’t happy with them either. When Googling photos for this post I found countless advertisements from stores like CVS and Waldbaum’s with the new Crest Be line for 99¢! Crest, stick to what you know and what you do best! Stick to normal toothpaste! Freshen breath with mint!! Only mint!