Sunday 26th September 2010by Jennifer 8. Lee
When I travel, one of things I like picking up is toothpaste (inspired by my friend Sasha Issenberg). In part because when you normally travel, you bring your toothpaste with you, so your mouth stays in your little bubble. This allows you to break out of your bubble and also gives you an excuse to visit supermarkets and drug stores.
In the U.S, we tend to prefer “medicinal” flavors but there are so many flavors around the world: salt, honey, aloe, miswak (a toothcleaning twig used in the Middle East and other regions). Sasha had green tea from Japan, which I still miss.
Toothpaste as a paste is a 20th century phenomenon, thanks to the technology behind emulsion (read more on Colgate’s site). During the 18th century,Â toothpaste was mostly toothpowder, dry cleansers that included ingredients like ground charcoal.
My plan was always to have my toothpastes in the bathroom, as I saw at Sasha’s place, so guests could try them out. I never got around to that. So they are still in the boxes (some worse for wear).
This is what I have built up so far: India, South Korea, Thailand, Russia (thanks to Jessica Naeve), China, France, Dubai, Cambodia (which is basically Thai toothpaste), Israel, Turkey, England, Malaysia. South American flavors tend to be the same as the US, so they are not super interesting for my purpose. I buy for the flavors.
Of course, mine is nothing on the order ofÂ Toothpaste World by Dr. Val Kolparkov, who is apparently a world record holder with some 1,800 toothpastes includingÂ a bunch of alcohol-flavored ones. I think of his more as novelty and historical, as opposed to modern real consumer packaged goods.
Anyway, here is a rundown of some of them.
The Asians really like aloe as a toothpaste flavor. Which is weird, because we think of it as something to use on sunburns.
Honey! From China. With the bee and everything.
“Herbal” is also really popular around the world, of various sorts. Like “clove, basil, miswak and lemon” in the Middle East to camomille, which I got in Mauritius.
“Salt” is also a flavor that is popular (not so much in the US) but in Europe, an in combos. “salt and lemon”, “salt herbal” and just “salt.”
And miswak/meswak, is huge in the Middle East.
We’re not sure what flavor this Israeli toothpaste has, if any other than “fresh taste”. It’s not Zebra. Looked over the box
This represents all the fruit flavors: lime, lemon, apple and “exotic energy,” which looks like mangos and pineapple. Remember,Â Darlie was originally named Darkie, which had a logo of a a minstrel in blackface. It was renamed with pressureÂ in 1989.
This Ayurvedic toothpaste is from India. I like how they emphasize it’s “vegetarian.”
I think I bought this one in Dubai? It’s “red hot.”
This one is Russian, brought to be by Jessica Naeve. It is floral flavored perhaps? Anyone who reads Russian can clarify?
This is from Turkey. We were not able to discern a flavor despite using Google translate on various words. Perhaps “vitamin” and “power” are considered flavors.
Chinese herbal medicine (“ä¸è‰è¯”)Â flavored. Yum.
And we have funky flavors in America too. This is baking soda and peroxide from Arm & Hammer.
If you are traveling or live in another ocuntry and see some interesting toothpaste flavors you would like to send, please contact me. I prefer “real” consumer products people can buy in a store, not novelty flavors.
Update: I hear there is Eucalyptus flavored in France. Maybe I’ll get that in November.