Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ICA Basic Tandkram

This lovely basic toothpaste is from ICA of Sweden. Think IKEA. (No, they don't sell toothpaste, at least in any store I've visited in the USA.) Think clean and simple design. Functional yet pleasing to the eye - or in this case, the mouth.

As white toothpastes go, this is one that will offend no one. The taste is a little less sweet than your average white minty paste from the States. And it has no hint of wanting to jump down your throat with ultra-bold flavor, like some toothpastes.

I like the fact that it has flouride. I can brush with no guilt - or at least with no feeling that my teeth will be less healthy in the long run.

ICA is the largest supermarket chain in Sweden. Since I have never been to that fair country, I am thankful to the brother of my friend Ted, who visited his relatives there this summer and brought back two toothpastes for the International Toothpaste Museum. He visited ICA on my behalf (though I suspect he got some groceries during that visit as well.)

Sadly, it was impossible to find any details on the paste from their website. (And Google's translate feature does work well on that site - there are no details in any language.) It's such a basic paste that it costs about $1.40. But nothing is wrong with basic!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Colgate Salt

This is the first guest post on The International Toothpaste Museum. Due to the hassles of international mail, my friend Josh did not send this one to me but rather shared it with me digitally.

Colgate of India produces a salt toothpaste for African consumption. (Josh lives in Nairobi, Kenya, where I met him and shared some fun experiences together.) Interestingly, the packaging is primarily in French, which is the trade language of many countries in West Africa.

Touted benefits include that it is "AntiGerm" - it "reduces germs and cleanses teeth and gums." And, "with regular brushing, [it] gives you healthy teeth and gums." In America, these benefits are assumed and will rarely be seen on toothpaste packaging.

Josh provided this description: "It isn't bad. Tastes like slightly salty toothpaste. I guess slightly minty and salty. I might even prefer it slightly more salty."

I was reminded of another salt toothpaste I reviewed, by primarily Indian company, Dabur. In fact, other than in America, salt appears to be a fairly popular approach to flavoring toothpastes. I've also reviewed salt toothpastes from Malaysia and Thailand.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Splat from Russia

Regular visitors to this website know that international toothpastes provide a glimpse into how global cultures relate. Although I am American, I think it's fair to say that many cultures follow trends started by the USA and England. One small evidence is Splat toothpaste. Although Russian is the primary language and Russia is the primary market for this toothpaste, English is the second language featured in the packaging and website for this toothpaste. And the slogan is in English, even on their entirely Russian website: "Professional oral care" - as well as their marketing phrase: "Idea. Quality. Result."

Not all ideas translate directly. If the Splat marketing team spoke English as their mother tongue, they may have said, "Idea. Execution. Result." (I invite you to browse their English website to see how some ideas don't translate directly.) Does "professional oral care" mean a toothpaste that is suitable for dentists to use when cleaning your teeth? I'm not sure. And yes, the name - "Splat" is not what an American or an English person would name a toothpaste. It might be more appropriate for a windshield cleaner.

So, on to the toothpaste.

The paste itself has a very nice minty taste, without being too overpowering. There is a light herbal twist to the flavor... I am happy to accept their claims that the paste is created from "medical herbs." The paste itself has a warm light green hue that is reflected in the band around the tube. I also completely love the claim that "it exerts a mild effect on one’s emotional state, gives strength and creates a happy mood." I haven't experienced that, but perhaps I need to brush with it more often!

The exchange rate was very favorable when my friend Keith very kindly picked it up for me during his recent visit to Russia - it cost about one US dollar. (But that does not count the time spent in going out of his way to visit a shop that would carry such a unique local toothpaste.)

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Miswak is maybe the most ancient method of brushing teeth. It's a twig that makes a passable toothbrush, when prepared properly. Wikipedia has a great entry on miswak, detailing the history and use of the plant. Muhammad used miswak regularly, and it's even mentioned in the Hadith, Muslim holy writings. Sadly, I did not feel holy when brushing with this toothpaste.

Dabur is a giant corporation based in India with products distributed all over the world. I've enjoyed several of their pastes before, and none have been a disappointment.

This Miswak toothpaste is a natural white color with a lovely anise flavor. As is the norm for most "healthy" toothpastes, there is no flouride added.

The most fun aspect of the package is the 1950s Americana wood typeface logo. I'm not sure what the designer was thinking, but I like it. I searched in vain for other logos with that kind of type treatment. However, I did find a free log typeface for your publishing pleasure.

Special thanks go to my friend Marti, who picked up this tube in Frankfurt, Germany. This particular tube and box were packaged for the European market and distributed out of Harrow, England.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tokyo via Indonesia

There's a paste specifically for tea and coffee lovers! Zact is by Lion of Tokyo. My friends Keith and Sarah brought it back from Indonesia. It is packaged and made in Jakarta, and apparently it is not even sold in Japan.

If you are a smoker, there's a Zact for you too! And as of this review, it's available via eBay worldwide.

For the rest of us, Zact is not my favorite. This white paste has a very chemically-medicinal taste. However, the pop-off lid is very convenient. If you're in Indonesia you say, "tutup," to describe the sound (or feeling) of the lid popping off.

Though I am a heavy coffee drinker, I did not use enough Zact to report on its stain-relieving qualities. I must say that I was a little scared that the same chemicals that might remove my coffee stains might remove something else that I want to keep. Every single ingredient on the package has a chemical name, except for xanthan gum, a harmless thickener.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Nigerian Red Hot Closeup

I love packaging that features people that a product is designed to reach. In this case, Africans are featured on this Nigerian toothpaste. And of course, the models are smiling with very visible shiny bright teeth.

A very similar package is used for the rest of the world. Sadly, the Closeup Red Hot for the Philippines features Caucasian models. The same goes for India. And in the USA, it's not called, "Red Hot," but rather "Closeup Cinnamon."

This "active gel" paste is not what I would call red hot. When I think of "red hot," I think of cinnamon candy that has a much stronger flavor than this toothpaste. Maybe the American Cinnamon paste is more like the candy. This paste has a slightly medicinal flavor.

This line of toothpastes from Closeup supposedly has mouthwash built in. I'm not sure if my wife thinks my breath is much fresher after using this paste, but I do know that it is foamier than the usual paste during the brushing process.

Special thanks to my friend Keith, who transported it from Nigeria.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Vicco Vajradanti Tube

This is the second Vicco toothpaste I've reviewed. The first was not toothpaste but rather Vicco tooth powder.

I love this one. It has a very unique flavor. A swirling mix of anise, fennel, cinnamon and mint combine to leave my mouth feeling fresh and very clean. A departure from the world of mint, mint, mint is so nice.

Interestingly, the kind people at Vicco Laboratories in Mumbai, India, also recommend that the user massages their gums with Vicco tooth powder after brushing - so I'm already primed for complete dental health. This is an Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is "the science of life." I can't vouch for the benefits personally, but apparently millions of Indians can.

The hue of the paste is similar to flesh-color. If you remember Silly Putty on Wikipedia, it's more like Silly Putty color. I am sure no dyes are used in the manufacturing process.

Finally, you must go to Vicco's Vicco Vajradanti web page to see the thrilling one-minute video about the benefits of this paste. If you watch till the end, there's a catchy song to learn and sing along with!

Special thanks to my friend Libby, who brought it to me all the way from India.