A Q&A with Michelle Aronson, co-founder of Grants of Australia
What was your initial vision for Grants of Australia and has that changed over time?
My initial vision for Grants of Australia was to create alternative products that were not readily available in the Australian market. It was important to us that our products were made in Australia and that we only used natural ingredients. Price was also a factor as we wanted our products to be sold at a family-friendly price point. This vision hasn’t changed over time, but we have added to it with our community giving. We try to support local community organisations by donating toothpaste to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to this basic commodity.
What inspired you to create a natural, fluoride-free toothpaste?
Our children were our main inspiration to create Grants of Australia fluoride-free toothpaste. We were living in Melbourne in the late 1970s (still are) when fluoridation of the city’s water supply commenced. We read more and more about the dangers of ingesting fluoride and were worried about the impact that would have on our three young children. We were running a health food shop at the time (in 1984) and could not find a fluoride-free toothpaste that was suitable for the children. There were some on the market (made overseas) but they tasted terrible and the children wouldn’t use them. This gave us the idea to make a toothpaste in Australia that tasted great and was fluoride-free. Over time, we were able to refine our toothpaste formula to eliminate other chemicals including SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate), triclosan, sugar and preservatives.
Why is it important to avoid chemicals/fluoride when it comes to oral health?
Everyone needs to be aware of what they put into their mouth. Toothpaste is a ‘spit out’ product but some can be swallowed, plus the membranes in the mouth will absorb what is in the mouth. Chemicals in mainstream toothpastes include SLS, triclosan, parabens (preservative), saccharin, titanium dioxide and, of course, fluoride. There are many studies which show the dangerous effects of these chemicals if they are ingested or absorbed into the mouth.
What are some of the natural ingredients you use in your toothpastes?
We use calcium carbonate as the base for most of our toothpastes. This is the most natural abrasive material you can use for cleaning teeth. The calcium, along with potassium, is also beneficial for strengthening teeth. Our natural herbal extract contains a beautiful blend of mint, eucalyptus, cardamom, thyme and rosemary, to name a few, which encourage good tooth health. We also use ingredients such as aloe vera (in our Mild Mint and Kids toothpaste), which soothes teeth and gums, and tea tree oil (in our Fresh Mint toothpaste), which is naturally anti-bacterial. Xylitol is also in all of our toothpaste varieties and has been shown to reduce the bacteria in the mouth which causes tooth decay.
What are your three top tips for caring naturally for your teeth?
- Drink water and avoid fruit juice and sugary drinks
- Floss regularly
- Brush teeth twice a day with a natural fluoride-free toothpaste
What’s next for Grants?
We have some exciting things happening in 2018. We will be launching some new toothpastes, including a new kids’ toothpaste flavour (Strawberry) and a Propolis toothpaste. We will also be launching our own bamboo toothbrushes. Stay tuned!
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