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You’re probably well aware that the Japanese are fond of creating food and beverages in unusual flavors and splicing things together, but guess what? That trait can be found in their toothpaste as well. Here are seven odd-tasting toothpastes available in Japan that you might, or perhaps might not, want to brush your teeth with!
Just to build up some anticipation, whether in a good way or not, we’ll go down the list, beginning with the tamer flavors!
1. Binotomo Dental Pasty Cream
Despite its dubious naming, this is actually a tube of toothpaste formulated with salt, which isn’t really bizarre per se, but the nice thing is that it doesn’t contain any preservatives, surfactants or artificial colorings. Made with natural salt, this toothpaste allows you to leave the cleaning of your teeth in the gentle hands of Mother Nature. Quite how it tastes, however, is another matter entirely.
2. Bamboo charcoal toothpaste
Bamboo charcoal is known for its oil and dirt absorption and odor reduction properties, and is used in a wide variety of Japanese products ranging from air purifiers to fabrics to beauty products. Bamboo charcoal toothpaste has become somewhat common in recent years, but some people still feel weird about brushing their teeth with a black or grey dollop of toothpaste, and we can’t say we blame them.
3. Spagyric toothpaste
Hard to pronounce, even harder to understand what this is made of. Spagyric refers to the production of herbal medicine with the use of alchemic procedures. This toothpaste is formulated with herbal extracts, and is free of additives such as parabens, surfactants and artificial colorings or fragrances, promising to give your precious pearly whites a gentle and natural cleaning.
4. Binotomo Nasu Dentifrice Jet Black
Okay, now things are starting to get a little weird. From the makers of the Dental Pasty Cream, here’s a toothpaste formulated with nasu (Japanese eggplant) and salt. According to user reviews, this salty toothpaste works great in tightening soft gums, and leaves your teeth feeling really smooth and clean. You wouldn’t want to use this when you’re in a rush though, as it seems that the color of this toothpaste can leave a nasty stain on your clothes.
5. Breath Palette toothpaste
This is the Baskin-Robbins of toothpaste. Available in 31 varieties, this toothpaste brand provides a crazy selection ranging from normal flavors like peppermint, strawberry and apple; to the slightly the more adventurous such as cola, espresso and Darjeeling tea; to the most outrageous tasting such as indian curry flavored toothpaste. Why, oh why, would anyone want to begin their day swilling curry around their mouth!?
6. Takoyaki toothpaste
If you love Osaka, this one’s for you. We have no idea what inspired them to make takoyaki flavored toothpaste, but at least the makers were sane enough not to put real batter balls of octopus in it! Although it is said to taste and smell like the famous Osaka street snack, it also manages to prevent cavities and bad breath in the same way that a normal toothpaste does. Apparently, this product also comes in miso flavor to represent Nagoya, and ningyoyaki (doll-shaped castella cakes) flavor to represent Tokyo. Simply bizarre.
7. Dirty Gorilla Perfume Toothwash
All right, to be fair, this isn’t a toothpaste, and it isn’t uniquely Japanese either, but it was just too out of the ordinary to miss! Produced by the well-known handmade cosmetics makers, Lush, these solid toothpaste tabs work like a normal toothpaste when you chew on them. An unconventional choice, but these would probably be great for jet-setters who need to stick to airline baggage restrictions. The good news is, it doesn’t taste like a dirty gorilla. Not that we’ve ever been close enough to one to give them a quick lick…
Well, it seems the Japanese have managed to make even the brushing of teeth a bizarre affair. If you’re eager for some “special” toothpaste, be sure to explore the local drugstores, or check out larger stores like Tokyu Hands, Village Vanguard or Loft when you visit Japan!
Images: Esteeto Fudou, Music Tree, Breath Palette, Artoy Online Shop, mmmiho’s blog, Taketora, Lush Japan