Sugar in toothpaste?

What makes toothpaste sweet? Could it be the very same sugar we are advised causes cavities? - Mrs. W.W., Cedar City.

Saccharin. According to a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble, which makes Crest, saccharin is used to sweeten Crest and other major brands of toothpaste. "Sugar would be contradictory to what toothpaste is supposed to do. Sugar causes cavities, and toothpaste is supposed to prevent them," she says.

The amount is miniscule. "It might be .03 of a percent. It's just enough to make it palatable. Otherwise the toothpaste would have an unpleasant, chalky taste."

Saccharin is apparently the only artificial sweetener that remains stable in toothpaste.

Customer's mistake

I ordered a videotape from Scholastic Inc., in Jefferson City, Mo. By mistake I marked the wrong box on the order form. That box was for a magazine called Pre-k Today. I finally received the video but the company still sends me issues of the magazine, even though I have written the company. I made my first request in October. I called the company Dec. 21 at 1:30. No one answered the phone.

I do not want the magazine. I do not even like the magazine. The company claims I owe it $14.95 and is sending me threatening collection notices. Is it an unreasonable request to ask the company to cancel the magazine? - B.B., Tooele.

Scholastic Inc. says your account has been cleared. It will no longer bill you $14.95 for the magazine. It says you first contacted it about the matter Jan. 1, 1991.

Regarding your Dec. 21 phone call, no one answered the phone because the company was closed. The company had let all its employees go home at 11 a.m. for the Christmas holiday.

To further complicate things, an ice storm hit Missouri after Christmas, leaving 4 inches of ice on the roads and schools closed until Jan. 7. The storm disrupted mail services during that time.