It’s a New Year, and Longevity is back with its weekly “Wednesday Wellness” segment. Bringing you the best in expert advice on health, wellness, and longevity. We spoke to Saskia Foley, the CEO, and President of RADIUS corporation, which specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of environmentally friendly dental care products.
Eco-friendly dental care products promote sustainability
Why sustainable dental care? We all take our dental care for granted. For years and years, we have simply followed the instructions of our parents or dental service providers on how to take care of our teeth. Most of us don’t even think about what is used to make dental aids, even though we put them into our mouths every day.
However, times have changed. Thankfully, we are all becoming far better at understanding the good and bad impact of brands, not just on our health, but also on the planet.
How dental care contributes to landfill
In the last 40 years, less than 10% of plastic has been recycled, according to data from the EPA.
A recent survey revealed that 75% of U.S. consumers are concerned about the environmental impact of the products they purchase, yet the environment continues to suffer. And when it comes to toothbrushes, they cause more waste than you might think.
According to National Geographic, toothbrush waste from the U.S. in just one year is enough to wrap around the earth four times!
A family business with a long-term vision
This is where Radius comes in. For over four decades, the company has been committed to protecting the planet; all of their dental care products are sustainable, organic, biodegradable, recyclable, made from plant-based material, toxin-free, and help reduce waste by 86% to have a greener planet and a cleaner smile.
Taking Over the Family Dental Business
Saskia Foley is the President and CEO of Radius and the daughter of one of the original co-founders. She admits it wasn’t originally her plan to take over the reins of the business from her father. Foley shares that as she majored in Chinese in college, she thought she would end up “working for the CIA (in) transcribing.”
Although her first job was as a project manager for a Chinese broadcast studio, it equipped her with the necessary skills to run a company. Her interest in task-oriented projects and teams led to a “synergistic” transition into the family business. She rounded this off with an MBA from “Babson”, considered the best entrepreneur school in the US.
Innovation in Dental Care
Radius celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. They’re still as innovative and ground-breaking as they were upon their inception in 1983, with their first product being made out of plant-based resin and cellulose, a “renewable, timber resource from trees.”
The company decided to steer clear of the classic, old-school toothbrush design, which Saskia calls “humanities lack of vision” which was opted for due to cutting costs in mass production.
An Ergonomic Design
Their toothbrush design is ergonomic, coming in right- and left-handed versions, with a reusable “forever handle” made from renewable timber. Radius has a “beginning of life, end of life” belief. According to Saskia, this encourages them to consider the end of a product’s life before they begin creating it.
The design has been referred to as whacky and even weird, but there is a specific purpose to this.
Explains Saskia, “We applied ergonomic design and luxury materials to engineer a toothbrush that cleans better in your mouth, feels better in your hand, and treats the planet better with a focus on sustainability. And that was just the start. We’ve taken that philosophy and vision of every day to create sustainable toothpaste, flosses, and other daily use objects we think you’ll love too.”
Fighting the plastic epidemic
Through this philosophy, Radius is being intentional about fighting the plastic epidemic which is leaving our earth damaged.
As an FDA-approved company, the way they do this is through producing BPA-free, biodegradable, and compostable products.
A BPA & Teflon-Free Product
BPA, which stands for Bisphenol A, is an industrial carbon-based chemical used to make certain plastics and resins since 1950s. Typically used in the manufacturing of toothbrushes, BPA exposure has been linked to several health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Teflon, which falls under the umbrella of PFAS, is an endocrine-disrupting chemical associated with numerous adverse health outcomes, including kidney and testicular cancer amongst many others.
“As these products enter your body, they need to be FDA-Approved”, Saskia says. She cites how we need to be just as intentional about our dental care as we are about the foods we consume.
Radius makes this a priority, as the company uses Polypropylene for the manufacturing of their dental care, and toothbrushes, which is a synthetic resin free from BPA and Teflon. The company prioritizes the use of bioplastics, which are produced from renewable biomass sources such as timber and vegetable oils.
A Long Lasting, Yet Effective Toothbrush
We are advised to change our toothbrushes every 3 months. This is due to the bristles becoming worn out, but Radius aims to combat this.
“Our bristles are made from eco-friendly vegetable-based nylons, omitting natural bristles which are harsh on gums and break easily,” Saskia states, describing their gentle, yet effective toothbrush, which can last longer than 3 months.
She continues to express how the company is not only intentional through its toothbrush design, but also through its toothpaste.
Organic vs. Regular Toothpaste
There’s also a common misconception that organic toothpaste will not clean your teeth as well as regular toothpaste. However, Saskia contends that with organic toothpaste, “you’re actually getting the same cleaning benefits as normal toothpaste without the extra additives and impurities”.
This can impact your oral and physical health drastically.
The need to go organic
She adds, “In terms of toothpaste, we’re very conscious of the ingredients that we use. Our organic toothpaste is the first toothpaste to be certified USDA Organic, meaning that at least 95% of our ingredients must be organic. Our toothpaste doesn’t contain any chemicals, artificial additives, or synthetic foaming agents that are common in many mass-market kinds of toothpaste.”
Their toothpaste range is certified organic, being 100% free of chemicals, pesticides, GMOs, glutens, fluoride, saccharin, SLS, SLES, carrageenan, parabens, detergents, or any synthetics.
Harmful Ingredients in Regular Toothpaste
So next time you reach for your toothpaste, perhaps you should take a look at what is in it. If it has any of the following ingredients in the tube, then you should re-consider using it!
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS): As a low-cost cleansing and foaming agent, this is known to cause skin irritation, inflammation of oral mucosa, and cause tissue sloughing, which is when the skin of your inner cheeks begins to peel
- Propylene Glycol: This is used to smooth out the texture of toothpaste and improve its shelf life. It can cause damage to the central nervous system, leading to organ toxicity. It can also wear down the enamel, which weakens the teeth and leaves them at risk for decay.
- Parabens: Also used to preserve the shelf life of a product, these can disrupt hormone function by mimicking estrogen, and this has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. This ingredient can cause stomatitis and cheilitis, the inflammation of the mouth and lips.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Ingredients such as Saccharin and Aspartame are used to add flavor to toothpaste. However, they have come under scrutiny for their ability to cause cancer. Also, when ingested, Aspartame is broken down into methanol, which our bodies cannot digest, and therefore converts into Formaldehyde. This then causes gastrointestinal issues, headaches, and weakness.
Intentionality in Dental Care
The team at Radius is particularly proud of the pioneering manufacturing processes developed by the company. Unlike many mass-market toothbrushes and toothpaste, products are also made on low-energy machines in a solar-powered facility and are designed with the utmost quality.
So next time you reach for your toothbrush and toothpaste, give a thought to what role you are playing in protecting your own health, as well as that of the planet.
Watch The Interview
To hear more about the importance of intentionality in oral care for our health and the Earth, watch the full video below.
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