Brand founder Sabrina J Parr knows all too well what can happen when putting the look of your smile ahead of the health of your teeth and gums. “In my twenties I was a professional dancer, and developed an unhealthy obsession with having the perfect Hollywood smile. This led me to do so many terrible things to my teeth, including getting laser whitening back in 2000 (which was when these sort of treatments were first available). I walked out with teeth that felt like sponges, and I couldn’t bear to eat for two entire days. I’d also try to do what I could to whiten at home, and would leave teeth whitening strips on overnight, which made my gums peel! I didn’t floss or see a dentist for years. I didn’t care about my oral health at all; I only cared about how white I could get my teeth. I paid the price for this approach a few years later when several of my teeth cracked and had to be pretty much rebuilt, using composite.”
“After about ten years of non-stop performing, I took a step back as I had a lot of injuries and health issues that I needed to address. This took me down the path of discovering yoga, and eventually becoming an instructor. I started to really pay attention to the foods I was eating and the products I was putting in and on my body. It was in Bali on a training retreat that I began learning about Ayurvedic treatments, one of which was oil pulling, which transformed my oral health.
The results I had seen inspired me to try to elevate the importance of oral care within the beauty category. I was keen to develop my idea of ‘skincare for your teeth’, and create products that were enjoyable to use as well as good for your health. I wanted to offer a holistic approach to oral care and push the boundaries by offering unique products, that combine Ayurvedic principles with formulas that embrace skincare-worthy ingredients.”
Sabrina cautions us that, while your standard big-brand toothpastes may be more affordable, it’s worth considering what you are really saving by choosing their products, and whether a more considered purchase might be more in keeping with values that matter to you.
Smaller brands may have the flexibility to include newer ingredients that offer similar benefits we have come to expect. For instance, Keeko uses a coconut-derived surfactant, coco betaine, to give the clean, foaming feel we want in a toothpaste, replacing the older and harsher sodium lauryl sulfate that is used in more standard formulas.
They are heavily committed to sustainability, with all Keeko tubes being able to be simply recycled at home using your normal council recycling bins, which many larger brands’ packaging is not. They are also Australia’s first oral care brand to be certified ‘plastic neutral’, meaning that for every product they sell that contains plastic, they fund the recycling and repurposing of plastic waste from landfills, as well as from natural environments.
Sabrina tells us, “scientists have known for more than a century that the inside lining of the mouth can absorb nutrients, which is why medicines are made that can be placed under the tongue. Because the tissues inside your mouth are so highly absorbent, you should be very mindful as to what products you are putting into your mouth.
Dream Clean Antioxidant Toothpaste uses a first-of-its-kind Native Australian Kakadu Plum Complex to help fight free radicals and to stimulate gum collagen. The three native plums that make up our Complex are high in natural vitamin C, which is incredible for building healthy gum tissue.
We also use hydroxyapatite, which is a naturally occurring form of calcium phosphate that makes up a lot of what our bones and teeth are made of. This ingredient has remarkable remineralising effects that fill in microscopic cracks on the tooth’s surface and help prevent cavities.”
She also shared a hot tip with us: “when it comes to cavities, nothing is ever going to undo the damage you can cause by not flossing regularly. Coat your floss in a remineralising toothpaste when you reach it between your teeth and boost your floss’s great benefits.” As the saying goes, only floss between the teeth you want to keep!
Once upon a time, a two step process of cleaning and moisturising your face was considered an entire skincare routine. If you’re a modern beauty lover, a basic routine these days might include five to ten products. Think you might be similarly ready to level up your oral health game from the basic two-step approach? Listen up.
The history of oil pulling may make it seem intimidating (it is an Ayurvedic technique thousands of years old) but the practice itself is simple. Think swilling mouthwash, which is indeed how Sabrina named her product, Morning Mint Oil Pulling Mouthwash Sachets. And the results? As Sabrina describes it, “when you swish the oil around your mouth, the bacteria that can cause bad breath and cavities, and which are linked to all sorts of issues in the rest of the body, get swept away and dissolved in the liquid oil. It also neutralises the mouth’s pH.”
We’ll admit it, the idea of scraping your tongue (and what you might find you have scraped up) is a little gross if you’re not used to it… but that is most definitely not a reason to ignore it. Sabrina describes the tongue as being like a carpet, and that just like a real carpet, its rough texture means it traps things in there you don’t want. The mouth-equivalent of what you remove cleaning a carpet in your home, such as dust mites, food debris and dead skin cells are things like plaque and, yes, food debris and dead skin cells (we warned you it wasn’t an appealing proposition!)
So, just turn your toothbrush over and get to scraping, right? A big no-no, according to Sabrina. “I shudder when people tell me they use their toothbrush for tongue scraping. The bacteria and food debris get stuck in the bristles and the back of the brush and multiply. Each time you put that brush back into your mouth you are just reintroducing more and more bacteria.
Happily, our Premium Copper Tongue Cleaner is one of our most popular products. Copper is the material that has traditionally been used for these in Ayurvedic practice, as it’s naturally antibacterial, so I chose that material, too. I love hearing from people when they tell me how life-changing a simple addition to their oral care routine has been for them. Some of our customers tell me that using one of our products they may have never considered before has had such a dramatic and positive impact on their overall health, and that makes all the hard work we put into the brand worth it.”
If you’re flat out brushing twice a day and a half-hearted flosser at best, don’t fret. Sabrina tell us that “I don’t believe you need a gazillion products to have an effective oral care routine. My mission for Keeko has always been to develop a holistic approach to oral care – so that each product not only cares for your teeth but also your overall health. My development team and I push the boundaries, developing formulas that harness the power of native Australian botanicals. These aren’t often found in oral care, but have incredible benefits for your mouth as well as your body.” Think of adding in a new step or two to your oral health routine not as ‘another thing you on the to do list’, but as an extra opportunity for wholistic self-care.