Colgate Total was the first so-called anticavity/antigingivitis toothpaste. It was followed shortly by copycat P&G's Crest Complete.

Some may say, "This is not my beautiful wife; this is not my beautiful house; how did I get here?" To them, I have little to offer. But to the folks who wonder how Colgate Total can make such miraculous claims as "fights tooth decay and gingivitis," perhaps I can shed a little light on the matter.

Like every other ADA-approved toothpaste on the market, Colgate works to strengthen teeth, prevent tooth decay, and fight cavities with the use of Sodium Fluoride (0.24%, to be exact). Because of its wonderful prevents-teeth-from-rotting-out-of-your-mouth properties, fluoride is already added to most city water supplies, but not at such a high concentration as is found in toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, the motion of the brush helps jar loose those little microscopic, tooth-decaying, microbial bastards that latch onto your tooth enamel during the day; meanwhile, the fluoride works its way into the tiny cracks of your teeth, repairing the damage that has been done and strengthening the enamel to help your pearly whites resist future attacks.

But what's all this "antigingivitis" crap? Sweet Jesus, that's a good question! Let's get to that right away!

It turns out that gingivitis is caused by plaque, and plaque is caused by bacteria that grow on your teeth and do all sorts of nasty things like host house parties while you're away and never put the toilet seat down when they're through doing their business. Additionally, plaque tends to build up on your teeth, and eventually this leads to a wearing away of the gums, which we common folk call "gum rot" or "shit mouth" but doctors tend to call "gingivitis."

So, how do you prevent bacteria? With antibiotics, of course! What, you didn't realize that your favorite toothpaste had antibiotics in it? Well hell, you must feel like a pretty stupid shit now! Ha!

Here's the skinny on the situation: there's this panacea antibacterial agent called triclosan. Triclosan works by attacking the bacteria in all sorts of ways that are described quite well in the triclosan node, so I won't go all into that crap here. But suffice it to say, triclosan has been shown to kick all kinds of bacterial ass, so some time ago, people decided to start sprinkling that shit into just about everything in the world.

Heard of antibacterial soap? Hell, I have a bottle of Dial Antibacterial in my bathroom...hmm...I wonder what the active ingredient is? You guessed it! Triclosan. Antibacterial dishwashing detergent or deodorant? Triclosan. Antibacterial condoms? Hey, that's actually not such a bad idea...

Anyhow, so about the time people figured out that they could just go willy-nilly and put triclosan in any damn thing they wanted, Colgate got the idea that triclosan would be a great tasting active ingredient to add to their already award-winning cavity-fighting formula of "fluoride and other shit." And so they added some (0.30%, to be exact) and the entire world started buying it up faster than Baptists buy tequila. And behold, a brand was made: Colgate Total became the best-selling toothpaste, with the #1 market share, in like 15 seconds or so. (Perhaps not quite that fast, but they did indeed shoot from zero to #1 in record time.)

And in the end, we all win, because the more antibiotics we consume, the better protected we are from pesky little germy things. (Except for the pesky little germy things that are becoming triclosan-resistant and, hell, maybe even self-aware; as they will one day conspire to rise up to destroy us because triclosan is in every damn thing in the world and they grow stronger by the minute, even without the assistance of soy-related products.)

So in the end, the princess was saved, a nation was reborn, people were united in hope, and our mouths were all much cleaner at the expense of our very souls. A small price to pay, indeed.

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