While I relish most of my nighttime beauty rituals (I consider removing eye makeup genuinely fun!), brushing my teeth just really pisses me off. Life is short, and two minutes is a long time to spend on one boring task. I believe the quote is, "Carpe diem, seize the day," not "Carpe diem, go brush your teeth." I always try and cheat my way out of the task, which, one night, prompted my exasperated roommate to sigh, "You are SUCH a child!"
But back when I was actually a child (by definition, not practice), toothpaste just seemed to taste better. That's because my mother was fooling us young 'uns with children's flavors such as Bubble Mint, Strawberry Splash, and Cookies and Cream. Now the closest thing I get to a flavor is "For Sensitive Teeth." Not exactly the most delicious-sounding name on the market. So maybe I didn't hate toothpaste, I had just fallen out of love with it. Maybe I just needed a frisky new flavor to spice things up.
I believe the quote is, "Carpe diem, seize the day," not "Carpe diem, go brush your teeth."
When I read the customer reviews for Oral Essentials Strawberry Kids' Toothpaste ($9), I threw up my hands and yelled, "FLAVA FLAVE," because I knew I'd found my flavor of love. First, it had a rainbow tube. Yup, Team Unicorn has infiltrated our hair color and eye makeup, and I will gladly surrender my mouth to the trend. Oral Essentials immediately became my "unicorn toothpaste," as its tub features the majestic creature, calling me over into the land of oral health and happiness.
But there were also the reviews. As one satisfied consumer wrote, "My 4 year-old used to protest [brushing her teeth], but now she jumps up and does it with excitement!!" If unicorn toothpaste was good enough for the choicest toddlers, it had me sold. But was I going to f*ck up my teeth?
I hit up NYC-based cosmetic dentist Dr. Gregg Lituchy of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor, who greenlit my little experiment . . . sort of. According to Dr. Lituchy, "Adult toothpaste tends to have a higher percentage of fluoride than kids' toothpaste," since the chemical compound has been shown to be harmful for children. I could make up for the lack of fluoride by using floss and nonalcoholic mouthwash, and these products "have enough fluoride to prevent decay and cavities." Per Dr. Lituchy's insistence, and good common sense, I always follow up with floss and Act Total Care Mouthwash ($6), which I've used since before I can remember (it's probably my longest relationship to date).
Plus, without knowing it, I'd secretly picked a champion kids' toothpaste. There's a reason that lil' unicorn on the packaging looks so proud — Oral Essentials doesn't contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). "The harshness of this chemical has been proven to create microscopic damage to the oral tissue that lines the inside of your mouth, causing canker sores." I am very glad that Dr. Lituchy warned me of this ingredient, because I don't need my toothpaste to give me canker sores. I already get those from eating potato chips, thank you very much.
I decided to pair my toddlers' toothpaste with a sophisticated toothbrush, because that's what grown-ups do. The Boie Toothbrush ($12) just might be the sexiest oral health product on the market (almost to an unnecessary extent, but it is so extra that I'm into it). This adult brush seems like the mature ying to my childish yang of unicorn paste.
With rainbow-high hopes, I tried the toothpaste. When I first started brushing, I almost did a spit take, because the damn stuff tastes exactly like Jolly Ranchers. Like, prime Blue Raspberry Jolly Ranchers, not any of that Grape nonsense. I'll go so far as to say that I would seriously squeeze this sh*t over ice cream like it was hot fudge if I could.
On my very first night of this experiment, I brushed my teeth for two and a half minutes without even checking my timer once. I've been hooked since then, even becoming that annoyingly perfect person who brushes mornings and nights and touches up in-between. I even poured it into a portable holder for contacts so I could use it on a plane at 35,000 feet.
Since unicorn toothpaste has cured my decades-long grudge against brushing my teeth and sports the cutest packaging ever while doing so, I'd say this product is nothing short of a fantasy. It's also further proof that in the everlasting battle between mermaids and unicorns, my side has the upper hand — er, hoof. Your move, Team Mermaid.