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Interview: “Seaweed can be found in many fluoridated toothpastes”

by Yvonne Bachmann, DTI

Dentist Dr Val Kolpakov from Michigan has an unusual hobby: He collects toothpaste. His collection is currently recognised as the largest in the world by the World Records Academy. Born in Russia, Dr Kolpakov moved to the US in 1993 to work as a researcher at the University of Michigan. For the past nine years he has been in practice at his own dental offices in Saginaw (Michigan) and Alpharetta (Georgia). Dr Kolpakov spoke to Yvonne Bachmann, DTI, about his collecting passion, radioactive collectibles and seaweed in our toothpaste. Yvonne Bachmann: When did you get the idea to start collecting toothpaste? Dr Val Kolpakov: It was 2002 and I was browsing the Internet. This was when I found some information on Carsten Gutzeit, a man from Germany who collected toothpaste. His collection stood at roughly 500 tubes. This was when I realised what a wonderful hobby collecting toothpaste would be for a dental professional. Imagine the opportunities it offers to learn about other variations of your profession. With this in mind, I decided to start my own collection of toothpaste. How did you get your collection? I have friends living all over the world, so I asked them to mail me some of the toothpaste sold in their countries. In addition, I bought old toothpaste on eBay while acquiring contemporary ones in stores. After putting up the Toothpaste World website, people began finding me on the Internet. There were several people who donated their small collections to me. Companies also donated their old and recent products to me. Do you usually buy two samples – one to try and one to keep? No, I normally just get one sample. I already spend a lot of money on my toothpaste collection and doubling the amount would be too much. Often, it is not even possible in the case of old tubes—which are rare finds to begin with. If I am tempted to try a toothpaste that I have in my collection, I just open the only sample I have. All my old toothpastes are so dried up, that I don't think anybody would be willing to try them in their mouth. How many items do you have in your collection? The most difficult part of collecting toothpaste is keeping track of all the samples I get. I estimate that I have 2,000 samples. However, I cannot tell you the exact number at this time. I have more than 1,700 tubes counted and entered into my database, but there are several big boxes with more samples waiting for their turn. Where do you keep your toothpastes? Some of them are displayed in the waiting room of my dental office in Saginaw. However, most of them are stored in boxes. We are currently remodelling our office. We plan to build a huge custom-made display for my collection, pretty much making a toothpaste museum of some sort. Anybody can come to my office and look at the samples displayed. I can also show other samples stored in boxes to interested people. Do you know any other people who collect toothpaste or dental equipment? I keep in touch with Carsten Gutzeit from Germany, whose collection inspired me. We have exchanged some toothpaste tubes. Since I started my collection, I have been contacted by several people who have small collections of toothpaste. Some of them have donated their entire collections to me. There is also a good collection of toothpowder tins at my alma mater, the University of Michigan dental school. They also have a very good collection of various vintage dental items. Which are the most interesting items in your collection? I would consider one item to be the oldest, most rare, and most expensive: a silver English Antique Georgian toothpowder box from 1801. This was a time when toothpaste had not yet been invented and toothpowders were used instead. I paid over US$ 1,500 for it. The oldest toothpaste I have is dated 1908 and made by Colgate Co. My favourite kinds of toothpaste are alcohol flavoured. These range from whiskey, like scotch, rye, bourbon, to red wine, amaretto, champagne and many more. Another passion of mine is chocolate-flavoured toothpaste. I have a set of pure chocolate cream packaged in a toothpaste tube with a toothbrush for chocolate lovers. This is more of a gag-gift, considering that it is not intended for brushing teeth regularly. However, there are several real tubes of toothpaste with chocolate flavouring as well. Speaking of unusual flavours, the Breath Palette Company tops them all. They came up with 31 flavours, including some of the oddest kinds such as Green Tea, Pumpkin Pudding, and Indian Curry. My most unusual collectible is Doramad toothpaste dug out of World War II trenches that has an active radioactive compound. At that time, some people believed that radiation could revive dead tissues and that radioactive toothpaste could revive gums. What do you estimate the value of your collection to be? I have spent close to US$ 20,000 on all my samples. Considering all the work and time I have spent on my collection over the last nine years, I would estimate it at US$ 30,000. But at this time, I have no intention of selling it. It is my hobby, my passion, the way for me to attract people’s attention to my dental practice and spread information about this wonderful topic. Are toothpastes generally the same? Is toothpaste bought in Japan any different from toothpaste bought in Italy? The main ingredients of all toothpastes are basically the same. However, there are local differences in flavour and some ingredients. Oriental toothpastes often contain ingredients like bamboo salt or ginseng. Japan is well-known for its ―high-tech‖ toothpastes that rebuild enamel, remineralise teeth and halt the development of caries. Is there something people may not know about toothpaste? You may not recognise the scientific names listed on toothpaste packaging, and thus may be surprised to know that ingredients such as seaweed can be found in many fluoridated toothpastes. According to the American Dental Association, thickening materials include seaweed colloids, mineral colloids, and natural gums. Do you collect any other unusual items? I have a small collection of denture containers – holders of different shapes in which edentulous people place their dentures for the night. I also have a collection of dental movie props, including some fake teeth that actors put over their own teeth to look like vampires, or homeless people with rotten teeth. Do you hold a Guinness World Record? I’ve considered applying to the Guinness World Records for a long time, but just can’t seem to find the time. Recently, I was contacted by an English journalist who interviewed me and wrote a story about my collection for an English newspaper. Somebody at the Guinness World

As fluoride toothpaste is primarily used worldwide for prevention of dental decay. income disparity between the rich and poor is high. it must be made more available to the world’s poorest populations. Finally. non-government oral health organizations and individuals around the world. but through the recent statistics only 12. Thank you very much for this interview. “Because of the importance of fluoride toothpaste in preventingtooth decay. The Questionnaire about the cost of fluoride toothpaste was filled by dental associations. http://www.” commented Goldman. Robert Yee and Christopher Holmgren of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre at Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen. This eating behavior has given a rise in tooth decaying problems in most of the developing countries. The evidence must include pictures. I do not actually hold this record yet. and statements from witnesses. and access to a wide variety of communication .healthjockey. Now I have to submit evidence that I possess all this toothpaste.” The authors suggest that this can be done by exempting fluoride toothpaste from taxation. encouraging the local manufacture of fluoride toothpaste and persuading multinational manufacturers to implement different pricing policies for poorer countries. And thus it results into malnutrition and live low quality of life. the poorest in each country faced the hardest The Consumer Market in a Less Developed Country Consumer markets in less developed countries differ from North American or European counterparts in several aspects: average household disposable income is low. This kind of enumeration is done for the first time to check the affordability of toothpaste all over the world. I submitted my application.5 % of the world benefits from it.Records Committee came across the article and e-mailed me suggesting I apply for a record. publications. literacy level is Toothpaste is too costly for poor people to afford – Research Ever thought of people who cannot even afford to buytoothpaste and live such a hard luck of not brushing teeth with toothpaste. a detailed list of all my toothpaste. the proportion of income needed to purchase a year’s supply of toothpaste increased. The results displayed that in different income groups in various countries. The research team included researchers Ann Goldman of the School of Public Health and Health Services at the George Washington University in Washington D. The price of the toothpaste was counted for a single person for the whole year and considering the other household expenditures with the number of days required to work to recover the cost of the toothpaste. youths represent more than two thirds of the population. The study researchers assume that the reduction in the usage of fluoride toothpaste is because of its http://www.According to study published in the BioMed Central’s open access journal Globalization and Health it has been found that fluoridetoothpasteprices have raised and have become too expensive for the world’s poorest people. “steps should be taken to make fluoride toothpaste more affordable and more accessible. privatization and commercialization are to be blamed entirely as people have adopted to eat a more of westernized diet. as was mistakenly reported in the media. but as there was no current record involving toothpaste tubes. and Habib Benzian of the FDI World Dental Federation who together compared the average purchasing capacity of fluoride toothpaste in 48 countries. as the per capita income decreased. it was approved. they had to review whether they could open a new category.. and is also high in some parts of the world. Globalization.C. but I hope to in the near future. The Netherlands. which contains greater amount of carbohydrates and refined sugars.

The growth rate of toothpaste consumption in the Philippines follows the . as compared to national population growth rate of 2.3 percent (National Statistics Office. net of inflation.3 percent per annum. Spending on personal care and effects is only 3. Families in Metro Manila have an annual average income of Ps173. Whilst the share of personal care products or toiletries is low.161 compared to the 1991 level of Ps65. rural families have an annual average income of Ps53. Such population dynamics suggests that the growth in the personal care product market would be significant. According to the 1994 Family Income and Expenditure Survey in the Philippines. Urban families have an annual average income of Ps113.6 percent to Ps83. the share of food expenditures is still almost half of the family income at 47.3 percent in Metro Manila but it has been relatively stable over the last nine years.599 and an average expenditure of Ps138. in real terms. the difference between urban and rural income is more than three times.8 percent. However.186. The last four Family Income and Expenditure Surveys in the Philippines indicated a general trend towards lower spending on food. the average income actually dropped by 0. this growth is insignificant. dropping to 44.483 and an average expenditure of Ps44. the personal care product market remains attractive to manufacturers and marketers. especially in the rural areas as shown by the steady increase in the share of household furnishings and equipment. In Metropolitan Manila.040 grows at 3. When families have extra income there is a tendency to buy durables rather than consumables. Metro Manila’s population of 9. In 1994.115.427. By contrast. urban families have twice the average income and expenditure of rural families. However.2 percent in Metro Manila (Figure 1).media is poor. the most urbanized area. the average income of Filipino families grew by 27. While it is true that the average income is growing.454. 1995 Census of Population).427.2 percent between 1991 and 1994. Therefore.121 and an average expenditure of Ps 91.

3% between 2004 and 2009. By: DIFFERENTIATING AMONG MAJOR PHILIPPINE TOOTHPASTE BRANDS: A QUANTITATIVE STUDY by BEN PAUL B.marketresearch.population growth rate.7 percent over the 1993 volume because of the entry of lower priced 2011 .34 Pages http://www. The toothpaste market volume of 14. with a share of 51.html . This volume translates to a per capita consumption of 237.pdf Toothpaste Market in the Philippines to 2014 (Oral Hygiene) is a comprehensive resource for market and segment level data including value and volume from 2004 to 2014. Toothpaste consumption is expected to rise as household incomes increase.upd. and market/company shares for 2008-09. and reveals the leading companies in the Philippines toothpaste market. The standard category led the toothpaste market in the Philippines in 2009.000 metric tons grew by 16.2 grams per year. less than 1 gram per Leading player in toothpaste market in the Philippines is Colgate-Palmolive Company. Published by: Datamonitor Published: Mar.7%. The toothpaste market in the Philippines increased at a compound annual growth rate of 3. GUTIERREZ http://www. 31.This report also provides data on expenditure and consumption as well as key distribution channels.

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