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This month, Oral-B will release its new $5 manual toothbrush, breaking all previous price barriers by more than $1. Gillette (Oral-B’s parent company) contemplated selling the toothbrush for $4, but market research proved that consumers were willing to pay more for “movement inside their mouths similar to the multiple cleaning actions of an automatic car wash.”

Yet, according to American Dental Association consumer adviser Dr. Richard Price, all toothbrushes do the same job if used properly. “Bottom line, it’s not the brush,” says Price. “It’s the brusher that makes the difference.” Price says consumers have been similarly duped by ineffectual toothpaste “improvements,” such as baking soda and hydrogen peroxide (which mostly just foams, says Price).

Unlike previous generations, baby boomers can expect to keep their teeth for a lifetime. But since the price of the best care maxes out with a 75-cent brush and a $1.50 tube of fluoride toothpaste, Americans are spending millions annually to enhance the appearance of their dental care.

Hence the No-Mess, No-Waste Toothpaste Dispenser. This Italian, solid-brass accessory will squeeze, flatten, and roll your toothpaste tube for you — all for a mere $75. Despite its claims, the dispenser is both messy and wasteful. Starting a tube requires wasting the first few inches of paste, and the brass needs periodic polishing and buffing. Daniel Lally, PR director for the dispenser’s retailer, admits, “It’s a luxury, yes, but…[it] reminds you why you work so hard in the first place.”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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