Shopper Marketing and Customer Experience Management

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hiSTORY of toothpaste

Why do we brush our teeth?

Who says brushing leads to better oral care?

Why do we wake up every morning and head to the bathroom cabinet?

Obviously, now it is all a subconscious act. I wonder what the situation was with out ancestors? How and when did we start brushing?

Well the answer lies in one man’s discovery.

Once upon a time, a man was approached by his friend to help find a selling proposition for a toothpaste at a time when American did not believe in brushing their teeth. Sounds challenging.

He started informing people about the (gross) film that grows on our teeth when we don’t brush our teeth. He urged people to feel the film (what we today call plaque) with their tongue. Soon, everybody was doing that. And feeling disgusted by the film, they decided to run to the toothpaste.


The man – , Claude Hopkins who wrote the book Scientific Advertising, the time – circa 1900’s, and the toothpaste – Pepsodent.


Now it was not enough to tell people that their teeth were clean after brushing. They needed something more to completely surrender to the toothpaste, and crave for the feeling of clean teeth, day after day.

So Hopkins added a tingle! A chemical that induces a tingling sensation after brushing our teeth, that tells our brain, that our teeth are clean, indeed.

And that’s how it all started. Hopkins not only introduced a product category, he did that be creating a need.

The secret of creating a habit, is understanding three elements.

  1. A cue (the film)
  2. A routine (brushing)
  3. A reward (tingle)


A cue sets of a routine, which must be followed by a reward. This loop must be completed multiple times, to result in a habit.

To understand more about this fascinating science, read  – ‘The Power of Habit’. By Charles Duhigg.


How do you know Claude Hopkins was a genius? Did you run your tongue across your teeth at anytime during this read?

This post has been written by our contributing author – Garima Ahluwalia


One comment on “hiSTORY of toothpaste

  1. Pingback: pingbacks for BUYSTORIES work | Shopper Marketing and Customer Experience Management

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