Truthpaste: UK based former teacher creates natural toothpaste after enduring terrible toothache
Aloe Vera, essential oils, Neem, are not ingredients one usually finds in western toothpaste, and therein lies the uniqueness of Truthpaste, a completely natural dental hygiene product created by UK based entrepreneur Marisa. The former teacher conceived Truthpaste after enduring a particularly painful toothache that did not respond to prescribed medications and conventional toothpaste, forcing Marisa to look for alternative dental solutions, including natural remedies.
After experimenting with natural ingredients inspired by the ancient Indian medical science of Ayurveda, and utilising knowledge from modern dental research, Marisa created Truthpaste – a product that also derives its zero-waste and eco-friendly ethos from its founder’s lifelong commitment to such values.
TAL caught up with Marisa to learn more about her young company, the values that drive it, the challenges she faced and her plans for the future.
Before we talk about Truthpaste, please tell us something about yourself?
I'm a Brighton based former teacher, and the last thing on my mind was starting my own business. I'm also a trained music teacher and used to work with adults with learning difficulties.
I still play in a band and like to travel, although now Truthpaste takes up most of my time!
When and why did you start Truthpaste? Why did you feel conventional toothpaste was not doing the trick?
I started working on Truthpaste after having to endure a terrible toothache. Conventional toothpaste and medicines were not easing my pain, and I turned to natural dental hygiene products and found much-needed relief.
I have had a lifelong interest in holistic practices and am also passionate about reducing waste and living as eco-friendly as possible. I suppose it was a combination of my love for organic products and lifestyle and the urge to find a natural pain relief dental hygiene solution that led me to create Truthpaste.
However, and I cannot stress this enough, it is imperative for anyone to see a dentist if they are experiencing persistent dental issues and before experimenting with newer dental products.
Dentists are against going Fluoride-free; arguing that Fluoride is not only an effective but an essential barrier against cavities. It is also naturally occurring, especially in lakes and other water bodies. Then why is it being avoided by those who use and produce natural toothpaste, such as yourself?
We always recommend that our customers do ample research and opt for a dental health practice that best suits them. There are strong arguments both for and against fluoride usage in toothpaste. Many of our customers have requested for a fluoride version of Truthpaste, and we are glad to say that it is currently in development.
We feel that we can maintain a balance by offering both fluoride and fluoride-free products while keeping with our zero waste and cruelty-free philosophy.
Being born and raised in the UK, how did you come across the ancient Indian medical science of Ayurveda? And, how do you procure your ingredients?
I've had a long-standing interest in herbalism and alternative medicine, and have always considered Ayurveda as a branch of alternative medical science that maintains health rather than being a miracle cure. Its use of natural ingredients is of great interest to me, and I have done much research on it.
Similarly, I'm also interested in how essential oils and botanicals have been used in traditional and modern health and beauty products. My love for Ayurveda can be seen in my products as well, which contain only natural ingredients, and is devoid of any foaming or thickening agents, emulsifiers, or artificial colourants.
Before starting Truthpaste, I carefully researched all the ingredients like Neem, Cinnamon, Clove oil, Coconut oil and their benefits in keep teeth and gums healthy. Ideally, we want all ingredients to be fair trade, and look for suppliers whose ethics are in line with ours.
We ensure that all our ingredients are tested to meet our high standards while safeguarding the affordability of our products for our customers.
Did you get a dentist’s opinion before starting work on Truthpaste?
Absolutely! We take our research very seriously; after all, we are dealing with the dental health of our customers. We regularly seek advice and opinions about our products from a registered dentist and a holistic dental practitioner.
When did you make the transition from conventional toothpaste to a more natural alternative like Truthpaste? What benefits do you think your consumers will get from this product?
I became a natural toothpaste convert after having to edure the worst toothache of my life! It was a pain like nothing I'd ever experienced before and conventional products just weren't doing the trick. I would regularly visit my dentist and would take the prescribed painkillers, but nothing helped. It was only when I turned to natural remedies that I started getting some relief.
Truthpaste, therefore, stemmed from a very uncomfortable personal experience. Hence, I know first hand how vital certain natural ingredients are in maintaining and protecting our teeth.
One of the biggest takeaways from our products for consumers is honesty! We are very honest about what we put in our products; there aren’t any harmful chemicals, and all the ingredients are clearly explained in the label. We strongly believe our consumers should have all the information about the product they are purchasing.
What kind of research did you undertake to find out if there was a market for such products, and how did you advertise your product?
There were other companies similar to Truthpaste, although I hadn't been aware of them until I started my research. As such, there were examples available, although our brand's uniqueness lies in its ingredients.
I started my business by making the first batch of Truthpaste for my family and friends, and it grew organically from there. Frankly, we’ve had little time or resources for marketing. The awareness of our brand grew mainly from word of mouth advertising. I am proud of what we've achieved in a relatively short period.
One of the reasons our products have had a positive reaction from consumers is because we are honest about our ingredients, products, and intent, and I think customers find our approach quite refreshing. We are dedicated to being as eco-friendly, and cruelty-free as possible on all levels – a value that is shared by many consumers today. The fact that our product is not merely a toothpaste but something that fits effortlessly into a mindful lifestyle makes it more attractive to consumers.
Was it easy to get consumers interested in an alternative natural toothpaste?
Absolutely! There’s a growing market for organic alternatives to conventional health and beauty products. Initially, I only created products for my family and friends, and since then, we have grown almost exclusively through recommendations and word of mouth (excuse the pun!) advertising. We've got customers and stockists worldwide, and we're getting in new requests every day.
Our growth alone reflects a growing movement in the consumer market where people are trying to live and shop sustainability, create zero waste and be as eco-friendly as possible. Our products check all these requirements.
After so many months of being operational, what challenges do you continue to face in terms of marketing, sourcing of ingredients and consistency of the quality of your product?
One of our biggest challenges is ensuring that our ingredients are ethically-sourced. We buy fair trade, organic and sustainable produce wherever possible. We always look for the most environmentally friendly way of developing our products, at the same time ensuring our product remains affordable. It is an uphill task, but one that we refuse to compromise on.
We are always open to feedback and suggestions from our customers. Demands and trends change, and we have to keep abreast with people’s desires.
On social media do you get criticism and negative comments about how your brand is probably just another millennial fad (despite Neem and Clove oil being used as toothpaste and pain relievers for years in South Asian countries)? How do you deal with naysayers?
We've never really had anything negative said online or otherwise! Moreover, we always try to take any constructive criticism on our stride and use the same to improve our products.
There will be people who might see our products as a fad, I suppose. However, since what we're doing doesn't upset or offend anyone, we've never had to worry about negative feedback. We have a diverse range of customers; some use our products together with mainstream toothpaste, while others start using it at the onset of a toothache and have loved its effectiveness.
We're not here to convert anyone, but to provide a healthy and organic alternative dental hygiene product. If our customers are happy, we are satisfied!
What are your future plans with regards to the product? Will you be expanding to other verticals like skin and hair care?
We've got some exciting new products in development. We've got a kids’, activated charcoal and fluoride range in works. It's a busy time for us, and we're looking forward to taking Truthpaste to the next level!
Before Truthpaste launched, I was developing my own face creams, masks and scrubs. I plan to launch these in the future but right now, my focus is on dental care.
Check out Truthpaste’s range of flavours on their website.