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Brushing up on oral care

Brushing up on oral care

Like all our products, the Lush oral care range reflects our values. We believe in a product for every need… and that includes our teeth!

Plaque Sabbath toothpaste jelly

1. The right dental product at the right time

We should treat our dental hygiene just like we treat the health of our skin and hair. Don’t we all want to keep our teeth all our lives? We carefully consider which cleanser is best for our skin, but we don’t often think the same for our teeth and gums. At Lush, we provide mouthwash and three different toothpaste bases to help you select the right products for your needs. Each variety comes complete with a host of beautiful, traceable and effective ingredients.

2. Leaving the world Lusher than we found it

This range tackles the environmental impact of non-recyclable toothpaste tubes. Indeed, conventional toothpaste is predominantly packaged in plastic-coated, aluminium-lined tubes that are rarely recyclable and can take over 500 years to biodegrade, if at all. Instead, you’ll find all of Lush's oral care products in clear, 100% recycled pots that are easily recyclable at home or through our Bring It Back scheme.

3. Innovating inside a rigid industry

We make fresh, handmade cosmetics across every product category there is - as well as new ones we invent. In many ways, toothpaste is the perfect cosmetic product; most of us buy it and use it twice a day without thinking too much about it. It impacts our smile, there, unmissable, on our faces. You could think of it as ingenious, but it also creates a lack of innovation within the industry. We manufacture our oral care products ourselves, which also goes for our wide range of flavours!

The origins of Lush’s oral care

Oral care isn't new to Lush. We've dabbled in the category since the early days, but it's since 2009 that we've seen a consistent offering on our shop floors. It all began with Mark Constantine, co-founder of Lush, asking for a good sodium bicarbonate toothpaste, and Helen Ambrosen, microbiologist, inventor and co-founder, whose grandad was a dentist. 

When Helen first got to work, she was clear that she didn't want packaging that couldn't be recycled. This led to her inventing the toothpaste tab - a mix of powders and carefully chosen materials, like tiny bath bombs that gently but effectively clean the teeth. It then took months of development work for Gary Shears, product inventor, to finally succeed with the toothy tab production.

A local dentist tested the range and examined the results, to prove that the products cleaned the teeth like an 'ordinary toothpaste'. Helen recounts that it was quite surreal to sit in the waiting room, all colleagues together, waiting to have their teeth checked over the three months of the trial. We've since extensively tested all of our oral care products with an independent, cruelty-free lab, which has shown us how effective our products are.

Later on, we saw more evolution in the oral care category with mouthwash tabs and jelly-like toothpaste formulas.

What’s in Lush’s oral care range?

Toothpaste tabs: Tackle surface stains

According to our tests, these little tabs have a sodium bicarb (baking soda) base that gives a whitening effect with high stain removal power. They can have a range of abrasivity levels from medium to high depending on the ingredients added to the base, to suit the condition of your teeth.

Alongside cleansing and sweetening ingredients, you’ll find essential oils in these tabs. They provide varying benefits, from promoting excellent oral hygiene to fresh breath - and taste delicious too. For example, the spearmint oil in Dirty gives a nice refreshing touch, while orange, lime and lemon oils give Refresher a fruity taste and a squeaky clean effect. 

Toothpaste jellies: A gentle wash with effective teeth whitening

A blend of carrageenan and agar (two seaweed extracts) makes the soft, jelly base of these toothpastes. In addition, we use a mild, oral-care-friendly surfactant called sodium methyl cocoyl taurate. This helps to clean the teeth thoroughly but with a very gentle foam, perfect for sensitive teeth and gums.

Jellies also vary in abrasavity and whitening powers, providing many choices. Their essential oils give a wide range of benefits, from the gum and toothache soothing clove bud oil in Soother and Plaque Sabbath, to a refreshing and antibacterial trio of mints in Cool.

Toothpaste with fluoride: A gentle base that takes great care of your teeth

Fluoride is an important ingredient in the oral care industry, one which some people feel is necessary and others avoid. In order to meet a product for every need, we’ve carefully formulated a unique formula with fluoride.

When working on this new toothpaste, inventors Gary and Helen quickly realised that fluoride didn’t work with the materials in our toothpaste tabs, nor with the hot, pourable base of our toothpaste jellies. They, therefore, created a brand new base that turned up to be closer to traditional toothpaste in texture.

Then, a materials expert (with whom Lush has been working for years) helped determine the fluoride levels. The toothpaste contains 1000 ppm (parts per million) of fluoride, which was decided as the right level to be effective alongside the other ingredients.

Mouthwash tabs: First came the toothpaste tab, then came the mouthwash tab!

An idea of Rowena, one of Lush’s co-founders, these mouthwash tablets fizz in the mouth like little bath bombs! They’re ideal when you’re out and about, looking to freshen up, and prefer an alcohol-free wash.

The use of mouthwash should be the final step in the oral hygiene process, both in the morning and evening. It’s a useful addition to brushing and flossing and should not be used alone as a substitute. If you’re up for a minty punch, consider using Crème De Menthe and its menthol crystals, or if you’re in a sweeter and citrusy mood, choose Refresher!

Frequently asked questions

Do Lush oral care products meet ISO (The International Organization for Standardization) standards?

The ISO standards for tooth products are being worked towards. The oral products Lush has invented are solids rather than the pastes or liquids referred to and so do not easily fit into the framework of the standards. For example, the ISO standard for mouthwash only relates to liquids, meaning they can be difficult to fulfil.

Can I use mouthwash tablets in combination with my regular toothpaste? Will they reduce the effects of fluoride toothpaste?

Lush mouthwash tablets can be used to refresh the breath in combination with fluoride toothpaste but we recommend waiting at least 20 minutes after brushing your teeth. If you are using Lush toothpaste tablets or jellies, you can use your mouthwash tablets straight away.

Can the citric and malic acid in the mouthwash tab erode the enamel on my teeth?

Citric acid helps form the tablet's solid shape and creates fizz when combined with sodium bicarbonate. Malic acid increases the flavour and the effect of other ingredients used, such as menthol and peppermint oil. That extra flavour enables your mouth to feel fresher and enhances the experience.

The pH of saliva ranges from 5.6 to 7.9, with an average value of 6.75. Enamel erosion starts in earnest below 5.5. When developing and testing the mouthwash tablets, we found that the pH of saliva after using a tab was between 6.45 and 7.0, so not in the danger zone of acidic erosion. That’s because sodium bicarbonate is alkaline and neutralises the effect of citric and malic acid, as well as deodorising and refreshing your mouth.

Now that you know everything, why not browse the range and choose the oral care products that will make you smile? As Gary Shears would say:

“Look after your teeth and they’ll look after you!”

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