Caffeinated Toothbrush: Colgate Files For Patent On Product

Do you find brushing your teeth boring? Do you not have enough caffeine in your life already? Do you crave “a tingle, a hot or warm massage, or a heating or warm, soothing sensation” after every meal?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, boy, do I have the product for you.

Colgate-Palmolive has recently filed a patent application for a toothbrush — or similar oral care device — which could deliver various flavors, stimulants, or medications to your brain when you’re brushing your teeth.

According to the recently made public patent, “there is a need for a toothbrush that provides a biochemical sensory effect when in contact tissues of the mouth and supports a method to visually communicate the sensory effect to a user prior to use.” Who knew?

The proposed toothbrush would have a myriad of distinctly designed patches, each with an image representing the patches' effect, attached to the head of the toothbrush.

Among the many proposed patches, you would have the option to choose the lemon shaped patch, which represents a “lemon-like sensation;” a snowflake patch, to represent a “cooling sensation;” or if you can’t choose, “a snowflake next to a lemon, that represents or visually communicates a cooling lemon-like sensation.” Hey, why not?

A controversy, however, arises from Colgate’s wish to include a number of medical and other stimulant chemicals to its patch arsenal that would include: benzocaine, for pain relief; belladonna, despite health-concerns and dubious effectiveness; passiflora incarnata, for anxiety; a “zo-caine type of medicine” to be used as an “appetite suppressant for weight loss treatment;” and the millennials’ favorite: caffeine.

Although the amount of caffeine that would be delivered by the patch is unspecified, the sole idea of including caffeine in a toothbrush will ignite the ire of the FDA.

Just two weeks ago, after an FDA “investigation into the safety of caffeine-added foods,” Wrigley pulled its Alert Energy Gum, which contained 40 milligrams of caffeine — which is roughly the amount of caffeine found in half a cup of coffee — in each piece.

The FDA’s “war on caffeine” comes amidst the increasing popularity of companies

caffeinating their products and marks a continuation in the disturbing trend of caffeinating almost everything.

From caffeinated Cracker Jacks (an espresso shot equivalent of caffeine in every bag) and caffeine-laced marshmallows, to “Energized Sunflower Seeds”  (as the website brags they are “infused with caffeine, taurine, lysine and ginseng") and “Extreme Sport Beans” (for athletes, of course), the new 21st century “caffeine culture” is overwhelming.

With the introduction of “Wired Waffles,” “Wired Syrup,” and “Energy Instant Oatmeal,” people can now complement their morning cup of coffee with their “breakfast of caffeine champions.”

The list of caffeinated products goes on: “Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap,” “Caffeine Tights,” “A Snack in the Face” brownies, “Bud Extra” (which was discontinued in 2008), “Perky Jerky” and my personal favorite, "Bacon Caffeine Maple Lollipops."

In 2010, the FDA warned four firms for its caffeinated beverages, which led to Four Loko’s banning in New York.

Over the past several years, the “energy movement” has gained steam with the growing popularity of energy drinks such as Monster Energy and Red Bull, and energy shots such as 5-hour Energy.

Despite, as the New York Times writes, "reports of 13 deaths over the last four years that cited the possible involvement of 5-hour energy" and numerous other health concerns regarding Monster Energy and similar drinks, the caffeine movement soldiers on.

Of course, it would be remiss to write an article about caffeine without mentioning the omnipresence of Starbucks (close to 21,000 stores in 62 countries) and the ubiquitous existence of soda that only fuel the caffeine craze.

Although the future of Colgate’s “caffeine brush” is unclear, imagining a future morning routine where people brush their teeth with a caffeinated toothbrush, after drinking their caffeinated coffee and eating their caffeinated waffles with caffeinated syrup, is not too far fetched.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Benjamin Fogel

Benjamin Fogel is a Sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania's College of Arts and Sciences and intends to earn bachelor's degrees in History and Psychology. He has a special interest in the shaping and implementation of U.S. public policy, and the history and application of the Fourth Amendment. He recently worked in Geneva, Switzerland, monitoring the 26th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, where he testified on the human rights situation in the Republic of Belarus (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZiSMkpxGZA). He currently sits on the editorial board for Penn Political Review and writes for The Statesman.

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