Megan O’Neill is new to goop—and the initiation process involves a pretty fantastic learning curve. Here, her adventures in onboarding, goop-style:
I’m talking to my mom excitedly about something when I notice she’s not listening.
“Are you listening?” I ask.
“No.” she says. “I’m looking at your teeth wondering why they don’t look white. It’s probably those coconut-milk lattes you’re always exclaiming about, yellowing things up.”
“My teeth are yellow?”
“Tarnished is a better word.”
My mom is a woman who will tell you the truth—and historically, her truth is true, not delusional, not ridiculous. She’ll tell you the truth about your weight, your wedding dress, the bags under your eyes, your published articles—even your tarnished teeth.
If I have tarnished teeth, I wonder, do I also have bad breath? What about my gums? (Unhealthy gums are linked to heart disease, miscarriage, and strokes. New research suggests they may even affect the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.)
I work at goop—where our water-cooler talk spans topics from the best pelvic floor exercises to sustainable condoms to how to seriously (and most importantly, non-toxically—conventional toothpaste is notorious in dermatologists’ offices for being one of the most common causes of perioral dermatitis, and inflammation around the mouth) clean your teeth. If anyone has the answers, it’s my new officemates. Some goop staffers, it turns out, swear by oil pulling (to me, it’s just a game of trying not to gag), some bring a toothbrush to work so they can brush immediately after their spaced-out cups of coffee (never going to happen), but there are four things everybody seems to agree on. None sound gag-inducing or too impossible—and of course they’re clean and nontoxic—so I order them all.
What strikes me first: They’re all gorgeous. I had been brushing my teeth without zeal for years—drab-looking toothpaste tubes will do that to you. But with this bathroom-sink overhaul, pampering my mouth is now positively spa-like, akin to taking a shower or smoothing on luscious skincare.
For starters, the difference between a mouthrinse and a mouthwash is that mouthrinse sounds—and looks—beyond glamorous. Dr. Christopher Perez is the dentist behind Olas Mouthrinse, whose alcohol-free blend of sea salt, algae, and echinacea tastes more like a bracing digestif than something you typically gargle with. If the bottle looks like a whiskey flask, that’s because it was inspired by one—and swigging from it at your sink does sort of feel cool and illicit.
Olas Mouthrinse goop, $24
This has to be the best looking mouthwash ever—and, most importantly, it works: Bacteria-inhibiting, mineral-rich sea salt substitutes for alcohol (which dries out the mouth and can actually cause bad breath), while a healing blend of seaweed and essential oils like tea tree, frankincense and echinacea helps remove plaque and odors, as well as healing gum tissue and warding off gingivitis. Plant-derived collagen, magnesium and CoQ-10 create a protective barrier for gums and teeth and support immunity. “Our mouth is the window to our gut health,” says Dr. Christopher Perez, the New York City-based dentist (and surf enthusiast) behind Olas. “If you’re feeling a sore throat coming on, gargle a bit to soothe the back of the throat and neutralize bacteria, or dip your floss in Olas first before using it.” “Olas” means wave in Spanish—appropriate, because you definitely taste a hint of the ocean in this rinse.
There’s something so sleek about the monochrome-black Charcoal Toothbrush from Morihata and the charcoal-filled bristles are soft but intensely thorough. I love the idea of getting a tiny dose of charcoal twice a day (it’s not enough to bind to nutrients in the body and cause problems), too, since its purported health-supporting benefits include removing toxins, deodorizing, and helping with digestion. I’m not swearing off my electric toothbrush, but this one is so light—and so much easier for a short weekend or work trip.
Morihata Binchotan Charcoal Standard Toothbrush goop, $8
This brush is amazing for helping prevent bad breath and thoroughly cleansing teeth and your whole mouth. Made with Binchotan charcoal-infused bristles, so it super-deodorizes and helps remove plaque, the brush’s natural antibacterial, preserving properties also keep the brush fresh and clean long-term.
The clean lines and perfect seafoam-green tube of Davids toothpaste makes me happy just glancing at it. Brushing with it is like giving your mouth an exorcism; it could not feel any cleaner or icy-fresh when you whoosh your breath in after. Not caustically minty, the cooling essential-oil blend of antibacterial peppermint and spearmint is tempered with anise for the most pleasing flavor.
Davids Premium Natural Toothpastegoop, $7.95
David’s botanically infused, ultra-pure, toothpaste detoxifies and fights bacteria without fluoride—which the EWG classifies as hazardous—or sulfates, which are known irritants that can dry out the mouth and cause bad breath. Calcium carbonate—a clean mineral—helps remove plaque and stains; antibacterial peppermint, spearmint and other essential oils freshen breath; and baking soda polishes teeth so they appear brighter. The metal tube is 100% recyclable—unlike conventional toothpastes’ plastic laminated packaging that ends up in landfills—and comes with a metal key to help you roll up the tube as you use it up.
I used to floss practically never because I loathed the sharp feeling of the string slicing into my gums. Cocofloss is weirdly plush (I know, I didn’t think floss could feel plush, but I swear to you this does), never lacerating. Just satisfying and faintly coconut flavored. Every dentist on the planet says the same thing about flossing: Do it. If you don’t, you’re increasing your chances of cavities and gum disease, both of which can threaten your health and leach away whatever is in your bank account faster than you can say “root canal.”
Try clean, refreshing Cocofloss once, truly, and you’ll be forever ruined for regular floss. Never mind its non-toxicity and social impact, it’s simply better than anything we’ve tried–ever. Created by two Bay Area sisters, one a dentist, the other an artist, Cocofloss is thick, yet glides smoothly between your teeth, is strong but flexible, and just feels—fantastic, transforming a chore into a pleasure. The floss has the faintest hint of the coconut oil its infused with, and the mint scent is especially fresh and invigorating.
The next time I see my mom is about three weeks later. I’m telling her some story when I notice that she’s following along this time and not peering into my mouth. I interrupt myself to ask her if my teeth look different.
“They don’t look tarnished,” she says.
“Why didn’t you say something?”
“Because teeth are supposed to look like yours look right now. What are you doing differently?”
I start by telling her about the best-looking mouthrinse ever.
Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology (2010): Gum disease linked to cardioascular disease The link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease: How far we have come in last two decades?
Research from Case Western Reserve University supports gum disease as a cause of miscarriage (2010): First oral bacteria found linking a mother and her stillborn baby.
Research from Harvard finds that oral bacteria causes imbalances in the gut microbiome (2017): The mouth may act as a hub for intestinal disease-causing bacteria.
Australian Dental Journal (2013): Flouride toothpaste linked to perioral dermatitis: Perioral dermatitis from high fluoride dentifrice: a case report and review of literature.
Scientific World Journal (2014): Fluoride may cause adverse human health problems: Water Fluoridation: A Critical Review of the Physiological Effects of Ingested Fluoride as a Public Health Intervention.