Written By: Bonnie Feldman, DDS, MBA, Anthony Tung, Ellen M. Martin
“I see myself as more of an artist than an entrepreneur. My primary concern is putting a product out there that reflects my values. Formulation, quality of ingredients, effect–everything is aligned with what I believe in.” — John Estrada, Co-Founder and CEO
Like most fretting soon-to-be fathers, John Estrada found himself concerned with the health of his pregnant wife, Kori . At the recommendation of his doctor, he set himself on a mission to find a chemical-free toothpaste made of naturally-occurring ingredients. However, he was disappointed to discover that there weren’t many options, and the ones that met the criteria of chemical-free were little more than flavored paste.
John found that the dental community’s biggest critique for natural toothpastes was their lack of fluoride: an ingredient in most chemical toothpastes that helps remineralize teeth. But while the shortcomings of natural toothpastes are significant, the dangers of chemical toothpastes are just as notable; with components such as sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol, conventional toothpastes increase the chances of developing canker sores (1), ulcers, and other systemic problems. In his search for the balance between healthy and effective, John founded RiseWell: his own brand of natural toothpaste with a unique remineralization agent called hydroxyapatite.
Evading the Extinction of Enamel
To understand why this remineralization agent is such a big deal, it’s important to understand the basic anatomy of the tooth. In general, the tooth can be broken down into three layers: enamel, dentin, and pulp. The enamel forms the outermost layer of the tooth and is made of a hydroxyapatite material. After we eat, the bacteria in our mouths begin to ferment the sugars we’ve intaken, producing acid and dissolving the enamel. This demineralization process is often the first step in the development of cavities (2).
The obvious countermeasure to demineralization is remineralization, and our traditional go-to ingredient for this has been fluoride. However, recent scrutiny of fluoride has led us to believe that it MAY NOT BE the best chemical to throw in your mouth twice a day. Fluoride-containing toothpaste is the most widespread source of fluoride in the world (3), and its ingestion—especially high amongst children—can lead to the development of fluorosis and other systemic side effects (4)(5).
Let’s Break it Down…(and Build it Back Up)
To simplify, here’s the dilemma: fluoride, the goto remineralization agent for your teeth, has side-effects that we’d like to stay away from. To forego fluoride-based chemical toothpastes and go natural, however, is to forego rebuilding the enamel and to increase the risk for cavities.
Catch 22? It would be if it weren’t for our friends at RiseWell. As we mentioned previously, a lot of the enamel (97%!) is made up of hydroxyapatite (6). Studies report that nano-hydroxyapatite particles, which are already widely used in many dental surgeries, have greater remineralization effects than fluoride (6). It’s natural, it’s effective, and—here’s the best part—it’s completely non-toxic (5).
In addition to this hydroxyapatite secret ingredient, RiseWell’s toothpaste is filled with all-natural sweeteners and antimicrobial agents. From wild mint to orange oil, this farmer-market-fresh toothpaste is probably what would turn out if you blended everything in the fresh-produce aisle together. It tastes great, and it’ll give the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth the butt-kicking it deserves.
So what was the vision behind the implementation of this magic toothpaste? To find out, we reached out to John Estrada, the aforementioned fretting father and the founder of RiseWell.
Artistry and Health
More than an entrepreneur, John describes himself as an artist. His primary concern, he tells us, is to create a product that reflects what he believes in and what he strives to accomplish. As a result, everything between the formulation to the feel of RiseWell’s product is aligned with John’s central purpose: to improve health and well-being. His goal is to educate his audience of the shortcomings of traditional dental practices and to provide an alternative to the conventions that may be causing more harm than help.
We here at Your Autoimmunity Connection believe that it is the minor adjustments to our lifestyles that make the largest impact on our well-being, and so we were excited to hear that RiseWell has built itself upon the same sentiment:
“One of the core beliefs of our company is that small things make a big difference. So if we’re going to make an adjustment, why not start with the thing we put in our mouths twice a day?” – John Estrada
We couldn’t agree more, John. We couldn’t agree more.
- Babatunda A.Y., Olufemi E.A., Adetokunbo O.B., “Effect of sodium lauryl sulfate on recurrent aphthous stomatitis: A systematic review”, Journal of Oral Pathology & 48.5 (2019):
- Featherstone J.D.B, “Dental Caries: A dynamic disease process.” Australian Dental Journal 53.3 (2008): 286-291
- Kroon J, “The relation between toothpaste usage and fluorosis: a cause for concern?” Journal of the South African Dental Association 56.1 (2001): 20-27
- Monlinia-Frechero N, et al., “Fluoride Exposure Effects and Dental Fluorosis in Children in Mexico City”, Med Sci Monit 21 (2015): 3664-3670
- Amaechi BT, et. al. “Comparative efficacy of a hydroxyapatite and a fluoride toothpaste for prevention and remineralization of dental caries in children.” BDJ Open 5 (2019): 18
- Pepla E., et al. “Nano-hydroxyapatite and its applications in preventive, restorative and regenerative dentistry: a review of literature.” Annali de Stomatologia 5.3 (2014): 108-114