But it's got other uses. It can save you money, make you seem like a better roommate than you are, or rescue your TLC and Alanis Morissette CDs. Read on for some unusual uses of toothpaste. And if you've got a use for toothpaste that I didn't mention here, post it in the comments.
Step 1: Spackle Those Drywall Holes
10:46. I'm wishing I had studied "Highlights for Children" more diligently while I waited to see my dentist. What's wrong with this picture?
Ohhhhhhh... there are a series of holes in the walls ranging in size from very tiny to small. Stupid picture frames, calendar nail, and curtain rods. Why didn't I realize that I would have to move out eventually and fill all of these holes? It's already 10:48?!
What to do what to do what to do... spackle. I need something spackly. Something white and pastey and... That's it! Toothpaste to the rescue. A quick dab here, a gentle smoosh there, and voilá! Handled.
11:15. Full deposit returned in exchange for my minty-fresh apartment. Cashier's check, you and I are going to the bank before the toothpaste dries.
Step 2: Phineas DeFogger
Toothpaste can be used on a new glass mask* to remove any residue left over from the lens mounting or manufacturing process that would allow a buildup of blinding fog to ruin an otherwise delightful and terrifying dive. The fine abrasive in regular old white, non-gel toothpaste can be used to scrub off the residue. Just wet the inside of the mask, then scrub (with an old toothbrush, perhaps?) it out thoroughly. Rinse completely with warm water.
To test your recently-defogged mask, run the lens under cold water until it's nice and chilly. Take the mask into your hands like a third date, then breathe heavily and moistly into it. There shouldn't be any foggy spots. If you found some, repeat with the toothpaste until the mask is clean.
To keep the mask from fogging up in the future, use defogging solution, spit, or baby shampoo inside the mask. Now you'll see the menacing sponges before they manage to sneak up on you while you fumble with your regulator.
*Or pair of goggles. This tip works on regular old swimming goggles as well. But the ocean is far sexier than the black line at the bottom of a pool, so I focused on scuba masks. Sorry Michael Phelps.
Step 3: Unscuff Your Air Force Ones, Murphy Lee
Fear not, friends, because a little bit of toothpaste will right all wrongs. Just brush the side of your shoe with a little bit of toothpaste to take out those pernicious blemishes. With some elbow grease and some toothpaste, you'll be back to strolling and sauntering with sass.
*This trick works for white leather as well, not just the rubber foxing on your plimsolls.
Step 4: Clean Your Iron
Because my ironing skills are poor to mediocre, my iron sometimes gets gunky. Normally, I would let it collect grime and forget about it, but I had some extra toothpaste and a whimsical thought: maybe some toothpaste will clean this off. Sure enough, a little scrub with toothpaste and the iron is as good as new. (Which is great for those times when I'm thirty seconds late to collect my clothes from the dryer on a Sunday night, and one of my neighbors has placed my permanent press items unceremoniously into a pile on the folding counter.)
Step 5: Polish Jewelry
Step 6: Shine Up Your Hog
Step 7: Clean the Sink
When you drop a glob of toothpaste into the sink, you can rub it around to clean the area around the drain, the faucet, and the basin. The mess becomes the cleaning agent. This is awesome. I have been routinely complimented for how clean I keep my bathrooms, and this is the only reason. Toothpaste is literally at hand. No digging through cleaning products, no searching for a sponge, just my fingers and the toothpaste that I accidentally let fall off of my brush/dribble out of my mouth onto the faucet.
(For any gentlemen who brush their teeth and pee simultaneously, the toothpaste cleaning method works well if you happen to be startled mid-stream and splash a bit onto the rim of the bowl. Some toilet paper, a well-aimed bit of toothpaste-y spittle, and you can go much further between full-on cleanings of your bathroom.)
Step 8: Save CDs
Put a small dab of toothpaste onto the scratched side of the disc. With a soft, clean towel, rub the toothpaste over the entire disc in concentric circles, as though you were the needle on a record player*. Wipe any remaining toothpaste off with a slightly-damp towel. You could be listening to "Tubthumping" on repeat in no time.
*Ask your grandparents what a "record" is.
Step 9: Spot Treatment
Put a dab of it onto the blemish before bedtime. The pimple should shrink in size and diminish in redness by morning so you can go about your day without resorting to bangs like that girl from The Ring or Justin Bieber.
(This is assuming that you aren't a chronic sufferer of acne who already has an arsenal of chemical weapons to destroy any whiteheads, blackheads, zits, pimples, spots, or blemishes that might dare to erupt on your face. Or that you don't have any aspirin.)