Clean products are clearly on the rise and the same goes for the dental hygiene space. From toothpaste to mouthwash and dental floss, all of these products are popping up in the clean sector. We tapped Kori Estrada, co-founder of the clean dental brand, RiseWell, to give us the full breakdown on why clean dental matters and how you can incorporate it into your own routine.
Frenshe: Can you tell us more about how RiseWell came about? Was something missing in the market?
Kori Estrada: Three years ago my husband John and I thought about having kids which ultimately led us to found RiseWell. I have a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which can make it more difficult to have kids. Early in the process, I learned I would have to go through IVF in order to have children. My doctor suggested eliminating any products that could contain harmful ingredients for me and my growing family. We went through my apartment and threw away almost everything. The one thing we struggled to replace was toothpaste, which is one of the last products people think about but one of the most important. I learned that conventional toothpaste was full of toxic chemicals like antifreeze and irritants like SLS and Triclosan (which the FDA banned in hand soap). My brother Derek (who happens to be a dentist!) told me that most natural toothpaste is as effective as water due to the fact that although they eliminate harmful ingredients and fluoride, they don’t end up replacing the active, effective ingredients with any alternatives. John and I, along with Dr. Derek brainstormed together to see if we could come up with a toothpaste that is completely non-toxic but also just as effective as conventional toothpaste. We scoured the world for the best ingredients and came across an ingredient used as the gold standard in Japanese oral care but that was all but unheard of in the United States. This ingredient, hydroxyapatite, is a natural mineral that makes up 97% of our tooth enamel and has been shown in studies to be just as effective as fluoride at remineralizing teeth and also safe if ingested at any age. After hundreds of prototypes, RiseWell was born, along with our now 2-year-old son Leo.
F: Why is clean dental so important?
KE: Most people know that clean beauty, food, deodorant is important but don’t think much about oral care. Before we created RiseWell, you couldn’t find a toothpaste that was both totally clean and actually worked. Of course, you don’t want to use chemicals but you also don’t want your teeth to fall out either. We created a safer alternative for all people. It is safe for babies, kids, and adults. It is completely vegan and gluten-free. We wanted to ensure that our products were safe enough for the whole family. Your mouth is one of the most absorbent places in your body. Therefore, everything you put in your mouth should be safe enough to consume and contain food-grade-level ingredients. We did just that but also added that active, premium natural ingredient, RiseWell’s hydroxyapatite, to protect your teeth!
F: What makes them clean?
KE: For us, clean means making sure the ingredients are safe for your whole body if consumed. We treat our products as if they are food. Even though you don’t swallow toothpaste, your gums are highly absorbent and should be treated as if it’s food. We take out all of the unnecessary ingredients and only have the ones that you actually need. There are no fillers, synthetic dyes or flavors, and detergents. We are passionate about being transparent and using simple, functional ingredients that are good for your body.
F: Can you share more on the potential toxicity behind traditional toothpaste?
KE: Conventional toothpaste with fluoride has a “call poison control if swallowed” warning on the label. This should not be the case if you are putting something in your mouth. While we are a brand that is backed by science and hundreds of dentists, we know that fluoride does work to protect the teeth, but it can be toxic. Cases of fluoride overdose and poisoning may come from oral care products and can lead to kidney disease, gastrointestinal distress, and central nervous system damage. So, if you can choose an alternative that works just as well, sometimes even better, then why not use it?
F: How is RiseWell effective when compared to other natural toothpaste?
KE: Most natural toothpaste is as effective as brushing with water. You take out fluoride and there’s no active ingredient to actually protect the teeth and your enamel. The bristles on the toothbrush do more than the paste does. Unlike these other natural toothpaste, we use RiseWell’s hydroxyapatite. It was first used by NASA in the 1970s when astronauts were coming back from space with weak bones and teeth and figured out how to manufacture more of what your enamel is naturally made of. Japan was an early adopter and is found in a majority of its toothpaste. It has been studied for decades and science shows that it remineralizes and rebuilds on the teeth just as well, if not better than even fluoride but without any safety issues. It is safe if swallowed but also actively remineralizes so it’s the best of both worlds!
F: What are some ingredients that people should always look out for in toothpaste?
KE: When looking at toothpaste, there are a few key ingredients to avoid. Propylene glycol, which is the main ingredient in antifreeze, is commonly used in conventional toothpaste to thicken the paste. Triclosan is another ingredient to watch out for. The FDA banned this in hand soap due to it causing cancer in lab rats, yet it is still in some toothpaste! Also, if your toothpaste foams, you shouldn’t be using them. The detergents can cause dry mouth and canker sores. They actually do more harm than good. It is a marketing gimmick that gives the illusion that it is cleaning better, but it doesn’t. Natural flavors are another area that can include a host of potential irritants, but unfortunately, you don’t know what is contained in most “natural flavors”. Many people think ingredients such as charcoal may be beneficial to your enamel, but this is not the case! Charcoal may whiten your teeth in the short-term due to the way it strips your teeth, but it can be very harmful in the long run. It acts like sandpaper against the enamel and may actually make the teeth more yellow later on.
F: Can you tell us about your other products and what makes them effective?
KE: All of our products are made to work with your body, not against it. We have a Kids Toothpaste. It is actually the exact same formula as the Mineral Toothpaste but a different flavor. So, adults or kids can use it. Our pH Balancing Mouthwash is made with xylitol and sodium bicarbonate to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria. You don’t want to use an alcohol mouthwash because it can kill almost all of your bacteria and cause a bacterial imbalance. Our Scrubby Floss is the first floss in the world woven with hydroxyapatite. Since your gums may bleed while flossing, you shouldn’t put chemicals directly into your bleeding gums. Teflon, commonly used to make pans non-stick, is used in many flosses. Floss companies are not required to put the ingredients on the label and this is how they get away with putting these chemicals in the products. We want to be as transparent as possible so we list everything we put into the product right on the package. We combined science and nature to make oral care products that are functional yet safe for the entire family!
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Learn more about RiseWell and clean dental products here.