Online Article Source

Coleman, Claire. “Is whitening toothpaste just a waste of money?” Daily Mail. Daily Mail Online, 20 Jan. 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.

This article looks into the actual effects of whitening toothpaste compared to other types that focus on just cavity preventing and plaque eliminating benefits. It concluded that whitening has no significant benefit despite being much more expensive. This proves  a misallocation of resources aligning the information with my thesis. Also, whitening as an effort beyond the individual price per product that consumers buy, the sheer amount of research and development, repackaging, and all other costs and wastes associated with a useless categorization.


Newspaper source

“Colgate Advertisement.” The Historical Seattle Times. Colgate, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.

This advertisement shows American consumerism at its finest. The time period is when toothpaste just started becoming popular and American corporations started to cash in. Also gives rise to the prototype of toothpaste previously called “dental cream.” It also advertises claiming the dental cream fights against cavities.

Masc source

Kent, Elizabeth Grey. A Choice Manual of Rare and Select Secrets in Physick and Chirurgery. London: W.F.Gent., 1653. Print.

This source gives historical context on alternatives of toothpaste and the general background of common oral hygiene. In this case, a  powder to “keep the Teeth clean, and from Worm-eaten” (49) most likely alludes to cavities. This also showcases their dental knowledge understanding the clean teeth prevents cavities but lacking the chemical knowledge we have on fluoride, etc. It also poses an interesting alternative as a possible replacement of toothpaste. Most likely due to the active ingredients in modern toothpaste, powder forms are not viable, however.


Toothpaste: America’s Cosmetic Obsession

We have all been ingrained with the 2x daily for 2 minute teeth cleaning routine prescribed by our childhood dentist or parent, and most likely by now it’s a staunchly formed habit. From a young age we are instilled with if not the importance at least the indoctrination that good teeth are vital to a good life. Toothpaste’s effects are (hopefully) frequent and widespread across America and first world countries alike. Toothpaste is a staple of civilized life. However, more and more Americans are feeling the pressure to conform to a standard of unnatural, blindingly white teeth. I contend that environmental, cultural, and historical uses of toothpaste misattribute resources in order to pander to unreasonable American beauty standards.

Original tooth compounds were purposed purely for comfort to solve for the lost teeth or massive toothaches bad or nonexistent tooth care resulted in. Over time focus on tooth care became more and more important until nowadays when we clean our teeth multiple times a day in multiple ways: floss and mouthwash being examples. Tooth powders were the first functional agents that allowed Americans to take control of their dental health and pioneered the way for modern toothpaste. Originally prescribed as enamel strengthening, toothpaste ended up incorporating this benefit as well as “cavity fighting powers.” in early popular versions. Most likely due to America’s relentless consumerism culture, especially beginning with advertisements in the 1950’s. Due to its historical precedent as a habit forming social norm, toothpaste has become paramount to good hygiene and a source of social shaming if you do not partake. This is ironic due to the relative recency in toothpastes popularity but signifies the power it has on each individual especially as tool for grooming and societal acceptance.

Toothpaste is a borderline health concern, because while you don’t need good teeth to function, bad teeth will make your life uncomfortable and inconvenient. Thus it gains the interesting reputation as a biological status symbol of wealth and higher living. And Americans have taken it the farthest of any first world country. If anything our obsession with bleaching and aligning and shaving and perfecting teeth has looped back in which case the procedures and hoops we are jumping through does not improve the health of our teeth but actually hurts it! Thus toothpaste comes into play as a hapless mediator both with cosmetic and drug properties.

Due to toothpaste’s consumability, presence in every household home, and generally disposability, its unquestionably in the makeup of our carbon footprint. The average person that uses the recommended amount will use 20 gallons of toothpaste in their lifetime. Fortunately toothpaste is manufactured in the free world and thus we can assume uses fair trade practices. Tooth powder a strong alternative, and as previously mentioned as being a pioneer of oral hygiene, might’ve been a huge boon in avoiding the plastic polymers and components necessary to hold in moisture to maintain the paste consistency that is now ubiquitous. Our culture needs to shift to be more environmentally sustainable and one of the ways we ought to do this is eliminating or severely diminishing our frequent consumption of non essential goods. And while I believe that toothpaste is of course an essential part of our collective daily grooming ritual, we ought to employ alternatives for packaging and chemical degradability. A recent study has shown that trace chemicals and elements found in toothpaste and many other household products inhibit the germination and growth of plants in certain geographic conditions. More than corporate responsibility, we have an individual obligation to maintain livable conditions on Earth for future generations

A huge preventor of progress is the motivation to stay in present conditions. With toothpaste American beauty corporations are motivated to increase dissatisfaction with our appearance in order to make us buy more products which will result in higher profits. I believe with a lot of products, they are stagnated by large corporations that produce the products unwilling to make a change that risks profits. There’s virtually no motivation for a company to invest in research that will ultimately make their jobs obsolete. For example if Colgate found a way to improve tooth health by using less toothpaste it would lose money because consumers would be buying less product despite it being more environmentally sustainable. In order for us to make a change in this and many other fields, I propose we either instigate financial incentives or stimulate research through opportunities funded by the government.

Ultimately  due to the harrowing standards that have been set by society, corporations, and probably Hollywood our dental efforts have divested from the health of our bodies to their appearance. We ought to prioritize aspects of toothpaste increase our health over ones that refine our appearance. And in order to be globally responsible we ought to look for sustainable alternatives and shift our cultural views from impossible beauty standards.

Consider the Bee Write Up

Consider The Fork Parallel Write Up

A milky cleaning substance – not one meant for you gutter or your toilet but one for the orifice in which food enters for digestion. Food so easily decayed, land there chomping about until it is released into some other godforsaken tube or gut to deal with it. Our mouths somehow are the beginning ground of digestion.

So we need the paste to get in between in our teeth and on our plaque (hollywood-white smiles don’t come without trying.) We need the froth to create a wash basin in our bodies specifically for our soon to be pearly whites. Is it bubblegum or X-treme Spearmint? Crest or Colgate? Whitening or made for sensitive mouths? I’ll let you in on a little secret: as long as it has fluoride it doesn’t matter.

This dentist-recommended and kid-hated paste is part of our routine, we spend on average more than 100,000 minutes on it in our lifetime (if you are doing it for the prescribed 2 minutes twice daily). It’s fairly mundane, simple to use, and integrated into our daily habits. I feel like at this point in time they ought to have invented some disinfecting agent that somehow boosts our immune system, but alas we spend our 100,000 minutes on teeth cleaning and only teeth cleaning.

Toothpaste can end marriages (if you squeeze from the middle of the tube then I think we should see other people.) But it is also one of my favorite things to do before going out or even after. A pre teeth cleaning ritual before a night out sets the tone of squeaky clean opportunity: ready for anything life throws at you. And afterwards, you can wash the night and it’s regrets right down the sink. Sometimes a metaphoric deep cleaning is necessary and it pairs nicely with the repetitive mindless brushing that teeth cleaning entails.

Nothing is worse than the ashy dry mouth taste, you get in the morning from passing out without completing your nightly ritual. So have some respect. Oral hygiene is not a joke. Brush your teeth!!

Toothpaste is one of the greatest wonders of America. Think of it, a semi solid flavored cleaning solution. But we pour it in our mouths. But also we do not swallow it.



I think I’ve learned that I tend to use patterns for writing and without much variation. Also previously schooling has stressed an academic, detached voice that I am struggling to drop. This exercise was beneficial to my project by forcing myself out of my natural writing patterns by giving me a template to write it.  Although it was very painful at the same time because I felt very limited creatively with how I was allowed to say things, although that may have just been me misunderstanding the prompt.

I think my style of writing has unfortunately become more dependent on sources for writing. My first year of college has been endless synthetic essays with sources taking a relentlessly tedious amount of time and effort to sort through. And my opinion might be biased by the fact that I’ve recently had to write 3 synthetic essays for different classes, however, I feel like more than ever I’m less creative and verbose on my own thoughts, relying on the peer-reviewed writing of other more qualified people.

Technology about toothpaste teaches us about biological status symbols (i.e. the health and beauty of our teeth) as well as the value system of America being about appearance.Toothpaste tells us that America places a huge value on oral beauty and alignment and other factors that suppose health. Toothpaste also is emblematic of our prescriptive and chemical advances in the medical field. Because it is both cosmetic and had a (somewhat) medical component, there is definitely chemical problem solving, test runs, studies, test subjects, and real science involved in finding the most effective or least harmful version. So it shows are problem solving and scientific advance, in many earlier decades toothpaste was not nearly effective and now it had so many other “benefits” like teeth whitening, etc. Ultimately if they could create a mouthwash that functioned like a toothpaste i would be happy. Obviously, since toothpaste is a very consumable product and pretty much a must have, large corporations are probably not super enthusiastic of finding ways to make the product obsolete.

5 minute Write up

What does our tech tell?? About human philosophies and value systems?? What are we for and ought to be for and what does the tech do??

Toothpaste tells us that America places a huge value on oral beauty and alignment and other factors that suppose health. Toothpaste also is emblematic of our prescriptive and chemical advances in the medical field. Because it is both cosmetic and had a (somewhat) medical component, there is definitely chemical problem solving, test runs, studies, test subjects, and real science involved in finding the most effective or least harmful version. So it shows are problem solving and scientific advance, in many earlier decades toothpaste was not nearly effective and now it had so many other “benefits” like teeth whitening, etc. Ultimately if they could create a mouthwash that functioned like a toothpaste i would be happy. Obviously, since toothpaste is a very consumable product and pretty much a must have, large corporations are probably not super enthusiastic of finding ways to make the product obsolete.

Free Write


I wake up in a blacked haze, my head is pounding and I was dead asleep until – wait- i didn’t brush my f***ing teeth!!! My mouth begins to feel ashy, and my teeth feel covered in slime. Sheer habit goads me grabs me and drags me up from my blank slumber, and i peel myself, like a person controlling a puppet, stumbling and with no thoughts to the bathroom.


I bend over the sink, give my drunken appearance and somewhat mournful but amusing wink, and turn the faucet on. Literally niagara fall is at my fingertips- I AM A GOD!!! But it gets louder so I turn it off in search for my teeth cleaning paraphernalia. First in a bumbling jumble of cosmetics and skincare products, i find it below a palette of eyeshadow, and the toothpaste somehow ended up in my shower caddy. Now is not the time for questions, it’s the time for answers.


Physical capacities

The inventor of the toothbrush was probably a person of absolute simplicity, and if we look beyond the screwups and finagling of modern technology- let’s make it go faster, you have to plug this one in! Literally a semi-intelligent monkey could use it, alternatively a non intelligent robot.

  1. Acquire toothbrush: this does require the use of a physical grabby mechanism, most people use their arms. Unfortunately, from this step we have marginalized paraplegics and those with muscular dystrophy or any other affliction that prevents the user from grasping the implement
  2. Put toothpaste on toothbrush: this particularly requires a level of motivation for me personally: some days i just do not feel like defiling my mouth with the frosty astringent minty chemical mess. But for those who have actual problems: those with parkinson’s or anything that prevents them from fine motor skills.



Looking at the Personal Health & Beauty aisle of the grocery store perplexes me. I stand in front of the stable little soldiers all in bright color with “enhancing” effects made to make me look like a normal person. But I am a simple women, and i have come for the bare minimum in terms of personal grooming. Already, my gender shames me.

Deep seated in between “X-TREME whitening” and the bubblegum flavored toothpaste i find it. Toothpaste For Men. It’s in a sleek navy tube, with a black cap. But in all other ways is seemingly identical to its twin just regular old toothpaste right next to it. The twin didn’t get the memo- it’s for men and men only. Why does toothpaste of all things need to be gendered? Perhaps there is some innate difference in men and women’s teeth, like women have more xylitol or men have more. Maybe men having teeth is a huge conspiracy taken on our gender, made to for some unknown reason mask the difference between genders.



“The bubbling paste they put in one of their many body cavities, you know!!”

“But, what are you talking about?”

“The humans do it, as soom sort of daily thing, it’s probably linked to one of their religions or something, possibly another way they use to assert the dominance over other weaker willed humans.”

“You say they do it every day?!”

“Sometimes more, two times, three times, these slimeballs can’t get enough”

Shows picture”

“They are cleaning their skeleton??!?! WHy are theY cleaNIng their SkelEtoN?!?!”

“I told you, it’s some sort of purification process, be more open minded greg”


Toothpaste is Obsolete


Dennis the Dentist was going to have to forcibly retire early, he was obsolete. His entire life, career, 30 years in the industry all gone down the tube. Now with the fancy new tongue depressors that lasered off any germs, decay, or … Everyone literally had personal dentists at their beck and call every night. Teeth had again become umbrellaed under the direction of the general m.d., as most incidents were usually in painfully losing teeth in drunken brawl, slick bathroom floors, and general clumsiness. For all the progress we’ve made we are still the same old dolts.

Toothpaste is obsolete, dentists are obsolete, floss, mouthwash, and any oral hygiene is obsolete. No longer do people need to spend effort and time on the mundane task of keeping the chompers strong and white.

The manufacturers, and factory workers had lost their jobs long ago in the robot revolution.


Toothpaste is always there, hyper regulated, present, etc.


Jimmy really didn’t think through his transgressions as he was making them. If he had, he would have remembered the mouth froth, his own mouth pressed together in bitter memory.

Whenever, people had a problem with communication, and beyond oral communication, in our modern day it’s still used metaphorically on all media types, tv, magazines, social media. If you made a faux pas you would have to go through The Cleaning. The barbarism extended so far that now, for celebrities they are often made public. People at their most vulnerable having to clean their spit tank and eating parts in front of everyone. People were a lot more cautious about what they say now. There are no Kanye’s in the world of mouth froth.


Jimmy’s eyes got watery, and his knee started bouncing quickly and impulsively, why couldn’t he keep his mouth shut? His substitute teacher was being heinously cruel, and he won sympathetic looks from his peers he could feel them on his back.


Toothpaste Alternatives


Jenny had had enough of the mall, and her mother more specifically. She pleaded staunchy gums, and made her way to the bathroom just to get some blessed reprieve from her dictating, nosy and passively insulting reality tv star of her mother.


She pulled her toothbrush out of its bedazzled rhinestone box, a gift from her best friend freshman year, Rachel put a boujee spin on everything: “if you have to do it all the time, why not look boujee while doing it” and grim faced looked at the twin liquid dispensers. One was for hand soap and the other toothpaste.


She made the unfortunate mistake at least 7 times in her life, but thankfully there is a learning curve for the bitter and poisonous effects of consuming hand soap. Didn’t seem like the best design… but how else were people supposed to have widespread access to such a necessity. Everyone needed to brush their teeth, anyway, it was a problem with no solution.


She carefully pressed in onto her toothbrush and whistled, this was blueberry flavor, they must be out of spearmint.


People’s attitudes about toothpaste tend to be —- but their attitudes should probably be —-.

People thought of toothpaste in this impoverished village as a product for the hoity toity. Only a weakling and a prude must strengthen the strongest part of one’s body: the bone.

Foreign people had come for about 4 years, with plenty of interesting gambits. One of them installed the ingenious irrigation system now used by every farmer within 10 miles. And the handsoap they had been given decreased illness so much! But lately they had been pressing the utmost of affected culture on us, simple people. Why must our mouth be pretty, when it can eat? It’s function is already good. Why waste so much time and money on smiles, you can smile for free!

In the particularly bad years, as he stumbled through mounds of trash looking for anything salvageable he had seen the tubes with disdain.


Interesting Toothpaste stuff?


You have to spit it back out, like they haven’t invented one where you can just swallow

It’s so frothy and bubbly

It is a part of habit, one of the most pervasive and strong ones

You are publicly shamed/socially shamed if you do not do it

Tooth care is so vital that its covered in our benefits and insurance

Toothpaste was first popularized by pepsodent

It comes in many flavors like bubblegum, etc. but it’s weird if you don’t use mint/spearmint/boring flavor.

It is a single representative of Americans obsession with bright white straight teeth, that we must do it every day, twice a day.

With the increase in sugar and


Tone of the Paper:

For this paper I want a critical tone. Why do we do the things that we do? And how did teeth become a part of beauty that we invest so much in. Why is it normal to have braces for years, and get your wisdom teeth removed. In other countries the same standard of beauty do not exist, so how did it develop and why does it remain, not just for celebrities but for the average civilian.


Feeling, wow humans are weird


And perhaps most perplexing of this whole ordeal is that it is so ingrained in our health, ideas of beauty, simple grooming, and status. From middle school onward it is normal to put metal wires designed to push our bones about so they are more pleasing to look at. Teeth bleaching and dentistry is required to be a normal person.


One Idea to leave off with


Sometimes habits are formed for us by social pressure, and we attribute more importance on them than if we had made the decision for ourselves, or if we were in different circumstances. Other people tell us that having pretty is important, so we believe it and everyone does and that is our culture. But in for example, east asia, nobody cares about teeth, they put the same emphasis on skin as we do on teeth. In some ways to be “normal” we are forced to bow to the whims of our collective expectations but always realize what you are giving up and the consequences if you do.