My mother never used fluoride toothpastes when I was growing up. I remember being a teenager and watching her use a natural toothpaste by Grants of Australia and thinking it was SO weird- I was a Colgate girl through and through! Even in my late 20s I remember visiting mum and still being confused by the premise of a natural toothpaste.
Fast forward to 2011, the year I finally made the switch to Grants toothpaste. Nine years on and I have honestly only used Grants since then! I love all of the flavours equally, so I actually just rotate between the different options whenever I finish a tube- and so do my kids!
There's so much that I love about Grants. They completely pioneered the natural dental health category, they're a family owned business, plus they're Australian made and owned. Having grown up seeing their toothpastes in my mum's bathroom cupboard, and being a loyal Grants user myself now, it was so great to chat to the brand's General Manager, Tammy Aronson, about natural toothpaste, staying innovative and working with family.
The history of Grants of Australia
Grants was founded in Melbourne in the early 80s by Tammy's parents. She explains to me that they owned a health food store in Prahran, so they were constantly researching new ingredients and were always across the latest health food trends. Tammy vividly remembers trying tofu for the first time- which might not be all that strange now, but back then Melbourne was what Tammy describes as a "meat and three veg" society!
In the late 1970s, Melbourne's water supply was being fluorogated for the first time. Being so tapped in to health and wellness trends, Tammy's parents had read up on fluoride and didn't love the idea of their family drinking and brushing their teeth with it.
They introduced the family to "herbal toothpastes," which were very different from what we now know as natural toothpastes. Tammy explains to me that, back then, herbal toothpastes were green or brown and they really did just taste like herbs- so much so that Tammy and her siblings refused to use them!
That's where the idea for Grants Australia came from. Tammy's parents went to a local manufacturer, and they were able to create a formula that was essentially the same as a traditional toothpaste, just without the fluoride.
Do we, or do we not, need fluoride for healthy teeth?
I've used the Grants range of fluoride-free toothpastes for 9 years now without issues, and Tammy has been fluoride-free since her teens and has perfect teeth, but it's still a point of contention for many- do we, or do we not, need fluoride for healthy teeth?
Tammy explains to me that Grants are neither pro nor anti-fluoride, hence the release of their most recent formula- a natural toothpaste WITH fluoride. "We've always advocated for choice," Tammy tells me of the Grants offering. "It doesn't need to be controversial! Consumers are not silly," she says. "They can research and make their own decisions." The beauty of Grants of Australia's toothpaste collection is that they have an option for everyone now, so you really are spoilt for choice (and I have another option to add into my household's rotation!)
How can I get my kids to clean their teeth?!
With a toothpaste expert at my disposal, I thought I'd get her tips on the issue currently taking over my home- how do I get my son to clean his teeth?! I feel like I've tried everything!
Tammy has children the same age as mine, and she tells me that her kids have actually been the official taste testers for the Grants kids toothpastes. Tammy's biggest piece of advice is to explain to and show your children what happens to unbrushed teeth in adulthood. Nobody wants black, rotten teeth, or a completely toothless smile, so give them that information and make them aware that it's their responsibility to make sure they don't end up like that. If they're receptive to it, get involved with their tooth cleaning routine and try to make it as fun as possible. Worst case scenario? Brush their teeth for them!
What's next for Grants of Australia?
Tammy explains that, given that the Grants range includes ten toothpastes now, the brand's focus is on creating even more variations and really owning that category, rather than expanding into different areas.
I told Tammy that one of the things that has always blown me away about Grants is the price- their toothpastes are SO cheap for such high quality, natural, Australian made and owned products! Tammy assures me that this will still be the case well into the future. "One of our main values is affordability," she says. "If you've got a family of five or six, spending $12 on a toothpaste for the whole family becomes a really big expense."
Shop the Grants of Australia range online now.