Wherever the Road Leads

You’ll Wonder Where…

…the yellow went


I was in the toothpaste aisle at the pharmacy the other day. They have toothpaste for whitening teeth, freshening breath, cavity protection, tartar protection, vivid white, plaque control, clean mint, smooth mint, soothing smooth mint, minty fresh with Scope, clean night mint, enamel saving smooth soothing mint, vanilla mint, herbal mint expressions liquid gel, not to mention regular.

What a choice! Sort of.

The entire row was made up of two brands: Colgate and Crest. Where did all the other brands go? Didn’t there used to be all kinds of toothpastes and toothpaste ads?

I’ve been using Close-Up for thirty years. I like it because you can load up your tooth brush and it blasts your mouth with cinnamon. My mouth feels fresh. These days, if a store carries Close-Up, it means getting on your hands and knees to pull the last few boxes from the back of the bottom shelf.

Remember these?



“You’ll wonder where the yellow went,pepsodent2
When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.”

Pepsodent is a brand of toothpaste with a minty flavor derived from sassafras. Its history goes back at least to the 1920s. Pepsodent was a very popular brand before the mid-1950s, but its makers were slow to add fluoride to its formula to counter the rise of other highly promoted brands, and sales plummeted. Pepsodent is still sold in all world markets except the United States and Canada.




gleemGleem was introduced in 1952 as a competitor to top Colgate’s then top Dental Cream. In 1958 Gleem had become number two in top toothpastes, out-beat still by Colgate with Crest at third place. In 1963, Gleem carried a 17-percent share of the toothpaste market in third place, now beat by Crest, heavily promoting flouride. By 1969 Gleem was a declining brand name.

As of March 31, 2013, Gleem is still being manufactured and distributed by Procter & Gamble with currently no plans of being discontinued. Because of the further decline in promotion and supply-and-demand, Gleem is available only through the Dollar Tree chain stores.



Ipana was first introduced in 1901. The wintergreen flavored toothpaste reached its peak market penetration during the 1950s in North America. Marketing of Ipana used a Disney-created mascot named Bucky Beaver in the 1950s.

Sales of Ipana declined throughout the 1960s, and by the early 1970s due to increased marketing efforts from Bristol-Myers competitors Procter & Gamble, Colgate, and others. Color television was increasing in popularity, and Bristol-Myers was uninterested in investing in “color” based television programming, and found that manufacturing pharmaceuticals were more lucrative and many of its basic care products were withdrawn from the market.

By the late 1970s, Ipana was discontinued entirely in the United States, but was sold elsewhere in the world. In 1986, a new gel version of Ipana containing two fluorides was introduced in Turkey, where today it is the best-selling brand of toothpaste.



Ultra Brite is a toothpaste and tooth-whitener marketed by Colgate-Palmolive. Ultra Brite gained popularity during the 1970s with a commercial that stated, “Ultra Brite gives your mouth…[bling]…sex appeal!” Here is Farrah Fawcett to promote it.

During the late 1970s and 1980s the paste was sold in the United Kingdom but was eventually withdrawn in the 1990s due to competitive pressures.




Who is left now? Just the big two, I guess… Colgate…



…and Crest…


The toothpaste aisle – its products and its commercials – sure have changed.


After the Fact:

stripeI had forgotten about Stripe toothpaste. A grade-school friend from Ottawa reminded me about Stripe after reading this piece. His remembrance is talking his mother into buying a single tube of the ‘gimmicky’ stuff but then returning to the family staple, Crest.

Doing the research for this piece, all the other long-gone toothpastes were easy to find details on – even ‘Ipana’ which many of you had never heard of. But for ‘Stripe’ I can find virtually nothing.

The one thing I did remember about Stripe was that it had a fancy chemical in it. Nearly 50 years ago, hexachlorophene was touted as the most effective germ-killer ever put in a toothpaste. And it had to be good. After all, science experts said hexachlorophene reduced germs in the mouth by 94%. A winner, right?

The International Programme on Chemical Safety (INCHEM) had this to say about hexachlorophene:

The substance may cause effects on the central nervous system, resulting in convulsions, respiratory failure.

Repeated or prolonged contact with skin may cause dermatitis, as https://skincarepedia.com/ reported.. Repeated or prolonged contact may cause skin sensitization. Repeated or prolonged inhalation exposure may cause asthma. The substance may have effects on the nervous system, resulting in tissue lesions, blindness. Animal tests show that this substance possibly causes malformations in human babies.

An Inconvenient Tooth… As awesome a germ-killing toothpaste as TV ads claimed it was in 1962, Stripe with Hexachlorophene isn’t around anymore. It was yanked off the market. And so were all the other once commercially available products that contained hexachlorophene.

phisoSo, no more non-prescription-pHisoHex, Baby Magic Bath or Ipana Toothpaste

I remember as a teenager, scrubbing my acne-plagued cheeks with pHisoHex and then plastering on pHiso-Ac cream, apparently both laced with toxins. Maybe that explains why I turned out this way.


Ever wondered how they get the stripes in toothpaste?



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  1. et  March 26, 2014

    ok you need to get oot more for sure..

  2. Don Milne - Roadtrip62  May 22, 2014

    Ultra Brite is still being sold by Colgate-Palmolive. Usually in dollar stores. It’s the only toothpaste I use.

  3. Marianne  October 9, 2015

    When my daughter was little she liked Aim and AquaFresh because of the pretty colors… I haven’t seen either of those since the 1980s, either!

  4. Jeff Missinne  November 19, 2017

    Pepsodent is still on the market, though like some of the others you mentioned, it’s mainly a “dollar store” brand. While Unilever no longer sells Pepsodent in the US and Canada, the brand in these territories was bought by the Church & Dwight Co. (Arm & Hammer baking soda.) It should come as no surprise that, at least in the US and Canada, Pepsodent now contains baking soda as an ingredient…


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