Pro-Expert toothbrushing

What looks like a slimy blue slug and tastes like spit and sand?

Oral-B Pro-Expert toothpaste, that’s what.

Oral-B is a brand recommended by dentists. I used to have electric Oral-B toothbrushes – although I only used one at a time to vibrate my teeth and gums to a greater or lesser extent. There may have been associated teeth cleansing.

I think they probably had a reducing effect on the amount of plaque that accumulated around my teeth but it was negligible. I use an ordinary toothbrush again now and I haven’t yet been overwhelmed with plaque.

The Pro-Expert toothpaste was on a two for one offer, but secretly, I think it was the image of being an expert toothbrusher that really hooked me in. I mean, I always thought of myself as an amateur, even though I’ve been practising for years. I started earlier than most – aged about three – with strawberry flavoured Punch and Judy toothpaste. I ate quite a lot of it so I had to move on to Colgate, which didn’t taste as good.

A dentist would occasionally offer tips on better brushing techniques but there was no suggestion that I was good enough to be offered the chance to graduate from the bottom grade “normal” status.

Even Signal, with its go-faster stripes, l left me feeling lilke a sluggish beginner. I’d do the usual brushing every day but I was never spotted or picked out for higher things. No-one ever asked me “Have you ever considered going for Expert brushing status?”

Pearl Drops tooth polish only ever made my teeth pearl-cream, which, when you have dentition as visible as one of those ornery horses that turn the wrong way round and refuse to go, at the Grand National startline, isn’t really good enough.

Going expert would have been a real challenge, so going “Pro” and actually making money out of toothbrushing was just an impossible dream.

There must be a lot of pros to Pro toothbrushing. It would probably involve competition and travel and hey, all I’d need to take would be my toothbrush! Sadly no-one seemed to know how to attain dental success on such a scale, with or without the polish.

Obviously when the opportunity arose to become a Pro-Expert, I went for it. The design of the tube screams elite tooth cleaning. This toothpaste stands no flipping nonsense whatso-flipping-ever. It’s antibacterial with fluoride, it’s whitening for a healthy smile, and the list of words on the tube “Cavities, gum, plaque, sensitivity, enamel, tartar, whitening, breath” is impressive.

It’s actually all about words; using words like dangling a worm to catch a trout (illegal in a lot of waters because it makes the whole thing far too easy). The right words have associations which will tickle people’s subconscious and lure them to buy.  By listing them, however, Oral-B are stringing together a bunch of words which, without explanation or claims, are wholly meaningless.

The whole “toothpaste selling an image” thing reminds me a bit of the eye-opening experience buying disposable shavers for son no 2’s legs (competitive racing cyclists don’t want woolly legs).

I found a bewildering world of plastic disposable razors ranging wildly in price. The more expensive the razor, the more macho the name. The brands seemed to be vying with each other to dream up the name that oozed super-max machismo.

It continues today. Choose between the Wilkinson Sword Quattro Titanium Disposable Razor, (fast, strong, smell that exhaust), the Gillette Mach 3 (Top Gun, F-14s, beach volleyball) , the Gillette Fusion Power Stealth (want to disable someone in a dark alley?) or the King of Shaves Azor Warp Razor (looks into shaving mirror and briefly turns into character from Deep Space Nine).

Yeah guys, you may be big and strong already but get a shed-load more of that testosterone. Oh wait. It’s a little plastic razor. Well, you can still dream with your silky-smooth chin held in your hands Rodin-style.

Reluctantly, I’ve had to give up my dream of being a Pro-Expert tooth brusher. That tube is heading for the bin. It doesn’t feel very pro or expert brushing my teeth with spit and sand.

I might try Macleans. It has the “clean” word in it. That has to mean something, right?

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About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
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30 Responses to Pro-Expert toothbrushing

  1. valzone says:

    Another good read Jan. What you have to remember is, dentists, are like Doctors, they push what the Drug company’s, and toothpaste/toothbrush manufacturers tell them to push, they get substantial bonuses for their trouble. Having worked in the NHS all my life, most of my friends, from it, or within it, and one of our friends is a dentist. He maintains you brush your teeth at least twice a day, with a tooth brush and toothpaste. “what toothbrush, what toothpaste, do you recommend?” “Any, they are all the same, a brush is a brush, but never use hard bristles, medium is fine. Toothpaste? what ever takes your fancy, or on offer, its the brushing that counts”.

    He does say Bicarbonate of soda, helps get rid of stains, and suggests to keep some in the bathroom, dip your brush in it along with your toothpaste, but adds, that it won’t remove plaque, only tools will do that. And he has em 🙂

    • janh1 says:

      I work for a GP surgery, Val but our docs don’t get any bonuses for pushing drugs. They hardly see any medical reps these days. Too busy!

      There’s definitely a case for a toothpaste which is labelled “Toothpaste! Might clean your teeth if you brush properly.” 🙂

    • Pseu says:

      GPs don’t push branded drugs these days, Val. No time, too expensive and big brother is watching…

  2. IsobelandCat says:

    My dentist gave me a free sample tube of something, I think it was Oral B, but with the caveat that he wasn’t saying it was the best, only that he’d been given a box of them!
    I like Kingfisher fennel flavour, with or without fluoride.
    Oh and I love my electric toothbrush. I tend to brush my teeth too hard and wear away the enamel.

  3. janh1 says:

    Fennel flavour sounds interesting, Isobel. Kind of aniseedy?

    I brushed my teeth too hard once and damaged my gum. No-one told me it was possible to do that! There should be some kind of health warning with toothbrushes… 🙂 I’m sure they could be deadly if inserted in an unexpected place.

  4. valzone says:

    Hi Jan. By bonus, I meant all the free gifts reps give out, to cross the surgery threshold, receptionists get a pen, docs get much higher calibre freebies 🙂 I always used Euthymol toothpaste years ago, but got fed up of the clinical smell. In my teens, my pals and I used Gordon Moores, it was a red cosmetic toothpaste to make your teeth really white. It did no such thing, it just made your gums so red, your teeth appeared whiter….what a con that was, but fun I suppose.

    • janh1 says:

      Hi Val – those freebies all belong to a past era. New rules mean that reps are not allowed to offer inducements (like you could *buy* your GP with a pad of post-it notes and a ballpoint pen…) We have to buy our own post-its!!! Shock, horreur! 🙂

      Never heard of that toothpaste but that’s a wily con, making your gums redder. I can imagine Lily Munster going for that!

  5. Jan: What kind of Pro-Expert do you hope to be if you give up so soon on a tiny tube of toothpaste? I would have thought trainee Pro-Experts would grit their teeth to attain their goal 😛

    • janh1 says:

      Sophie, sometimes you have to know when you’re beat. 🙂 I’ve chucked the “whitening” and switched to other tube (also Pro-Expert, so I think that counts) which isn’t so bad. Just offers standard tooth cleaning 🙂

  6. janh1 says:

    Reckon I’ll get a certificate? Useful for my cv, after all. More impressive than my Cycling Proficiency Test Certificate and my DayBoat Sailing Certificate put together!!

    • Sophiescott196 says:

      If you asked Oral-B, I think you might get a certificate in the post. For me it would be higher ranking than the cycling and sailing certificates but would not exceed my Brownie Hostess badge 😀

      • janh1 says:

        Woo! Well in that case, I feel I should mention that I am the holder of a Dennis the Menace badge AND Fan Club membership card (lapsed 1991) 🙂

      • Sophiescott196 says:

        I think Dennis the Menace trumps Brownies 😀

      • janh1 says:

        Oh I dunno Sophie. I think it would be quite nice, while serving up supper to friends to announce “Nobody worry about food poisoning. I got my Brownie Hostess badge.”

        Actually I’ve been just waiting to see if anyone comes up with what I consider to be the most treasured, coveted and downright impressive of all achievement awards – the Blue Peter badge!

  7. valzone says:

    Hi Jan. If I can go off blog for a moment, I’m just catching up with the Telegraph, and I am reminded of you just now, reading about “Fear of ‘helmet hair’ stops us cycling to work”. It seems people don’t like cycling to work for fear of the helmet spoiling their hair, or arriving hot and sweaty.

  8. IsobelandCat says:

    Fennel toothpaste’s lovely, Jan.
    http://www.kingfishertoothpaste.com/about_us.html

    Oh and my dentist is very very anti whitening. Normally a mild man, he gets quite het up. The practice has been taken over by a chain, and one of the things that upsets him most, apart from the edicts from afar about decor, are the ads about the place for teeth whitening.

  9. janh1 says:

    Thanks Isobel, I might try it when I’ve got bored of being Pro-Expert.

    Funny you should mention that. I asked my dentist about whitening once and he wasn’t keen – didn’t trust the whitening ingredients completely. He asked me “Do you drink red wine?” to which the answer was, of course, “Yes” and he said “well, waste of time thinking of whitening then, unless you want to have it done every month.” Some things just aren’t worth the money or the effort! 😀

  10. IsobelandCat says:

    Does Founder Member of The Puffin Club cut any ice here?

    • janh1 says:

      Oh yes, I think I’d almost prefer to be that than a Pro Expert! I think I aspired to be a member but I was already in the Harold Hare Club so mum thought that was sufficient for a six-year-old. So how come “founder”? Is your name among those engraved on a stone tablet somewhere in Penguin HQ? Do tell! 🙂

  11. Sophiescott196 says:

    Not for me, sorry Isobel. Now if it were the Tufty Club….. 😀

  12. janh1 says:

    Ah Sophie, my brother was in the Tufty Club. I think his school made him join. He didn’t join anything apart from a cycling club. The main thing is, did you get certificates?

    • I don’t remember certificates, but I did have a badge.

      A Blue Peter badge was beyond my aspirations, but I did submit pictures to the Vision On gallery – never hung though 😦

      • janh1 says:

        I did too, and I have a vague memory of a volcano painting getting on to Vision On, but it was but a brief glimpse and we never had any documentary proof. No chance of a Blue Peter badge though. Those were were proper swots 😀

  13. valzone says:

    That’s the article Jan, although there wasn’t a photograph in the paper. With hair like the model, I wouldn’t think she’d welcome the helmet 🙂

    • janh1 says:

      Good grief, no. That kind of style would necessitate extreme titivation. I was never into back-combing.

      Perms now, they would just bounce back. Although you might have trouble stuffing a Barbara Dickson under a helmet.

  14. Pseu says:

    I’d love to go to work on a bike, but not really practical. I did 30 miles yesterday around the villages….

    Helmet hair is a problem, especially with curls.

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