Morning Cup of…Toothbrush?

Now I feel like I’ve truly heard it all and therefore feel compelled to share.  The dental industry has imagined a new innovation: the caffeinated toothbrush.  Yes, you read that correctly…a caffeinated toothbrush! Colgate-Palmolive has recently filed a patent for technology that would redefine the handheld toothbrush as we know it.  In fact, they are proposing a design for new toothbrushes that would gradually dispense chemicals as the brushing process ensued.  Among these chemicals include the stimulant caffeine, so you can wake up each morning and immediately satisfy your coffee craving.  In addition, they have thrown around the idea of injecting certain medication and appetite suppressants into the chemical dispensers.  For instance, one proposed additive was benzocaine for small children’s toothbrushes, as they believe this chemical will lessen the pain of teething.

Their proposal described patches on the back of each toothbrush head, which would signify to consumers what type of additive is inside each brush.  For example, a flamethrower or candle illustration would signify that the toothbrush contains capsaicin, a compound that gives chile peppers their spicy flavor (all the better to wake you up in the morning!). Regardless of the added chemical however, toothbrushes would last for up to three months before the additive injection would run out.  It will be interesting to see whether or not Colgate-Palmolive is granted a patent, or if the Food and Drug Administration will have anything to say about it, especially given their recent inspection and inquiry into the safety of Wrigley’s Alert Energy Caffeine Gum.

While reading about this new innovation, I didn’t know whether to feel amused, slightly sad, or a little bit of both.  Part of me went right to the logistics of this proposed toothbrush, and I began to wonder:  1. What materials would the patches be made out of? 2. Would there be other additives inside of the patches other than the main chemical (i.e., caffeine, etc.)? 3. How would the toothbrush know to regulate the amount of chemical released…would it be now be possible to “overdose” on the caffeine in your toothbrush?

Furthermore, my mind kept flashing to scenes from the PIXAR film, Wall-E, which foreshadowed a dismal tale about the future of humanity and the environment.  In the movie, humans are toted around in hovering chairs and press buttons to order meals or change television stations.  If this new technology ever comes to fruition, will we as a nation be getting one step closer to that lazier, technology-dependent society depicted in Wall-E?  We shall see…but I do know that personally, if I drank coffee, I would want to brew it myself instead of having it injected into my mouth with my toothbrush.  But that’s just me…what about you?

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Gates, Sara. “Toothbrush With Caffeine? Patent Filed for Device That Delivers Chemicals While You Brush.” Huffington Post. Web. The Huffington, Inc. 20 May 2013.

Lange, Maggie. Gawker. Gawker Media. 2013.Web. 20 May 2013.


6 thoughts on “Morning Cup of…Toothbrush?

  1. Sam L.

    Hmm… It does sound very sci-fi… It shows how caffeine IS a drug, and that innovation can be really weird… Still, I feel that this is less the lazy Wall-E type of innovation to something that seems more Bradbury-esque in the way it shows how rushed we are. What if, in the future, a whole meal could be delivered this way?

  2. Oh my goodness, Katie! I hadn’t heard about this new…advancement? It is so sad. For me, as a dedicated coffee drinker, it is the ritual of preparing the coffee, and sitting quietly sipping (or chatting) that make it so special. Injecting caffeine from a toothbrush misses the point entirely. I know we are a nation addicted to caffeine (me included), but that doesn’t mean we need to add it to our list of things to be multi-tasked. Yuck.

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