Lumineux Oral Essentials is flipping the script on oral care: no more harsh bleaches, harmful ingredients, abrasive cleansers, or compromises. Instead, the company’s MADE SAFE® certified mouthwashes harness the cleaning power of natural ingredients and are backed by clinical efficacy studies. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself with a photo-ready smile.
Made Safe reached out to Dr. Kourosh Maddahi, Founder and CEO, to learn more about the creation of his company and to find out why the MADE SAFE certification was the certification he had his sights on.
Made Safe: What makes Lumineux Oral Essentials products different than others? Dr. Maddahi: I’ve been practicing dentistry for 31 years, and as a dentist, I know that the dental profession has been obsessed with killing bacteria for the past 50 years. That’s what is being taught in school, and that’s what many of the dental products stand on as their main mode of treatment. They tout this line: “Kill as many bacteria as possible.” What I also know is that we actually should not kill all of the bacteria, and the longer we use any type of ingredients that DO kill bacteria, we can make more resistant bacteria, which may lead to all kinds of problems for our health and render the products we’re using ineffective over time.
I knew this couldn’t be the only way, so I started looking for an alternative to this kind of thinking. It was surprisingly hard to find.
Made Safe: What did you find in your search for alternatives? Dr. Maddahi: The entire concept of our line of products came about and was inspired by an unprecedented 10-year-long study by a colleague of mine, Hessam Nowzari, DDS, PhD, who was the Chairman of the Advanced Periodontics Department at University of Southern California for 17 years, and is now the Chief Scientific Officer of our company. He did a study on homeless children in Manila, where they were suffering from an aggressive type of gum disease caused by AA bacteria. AA bacteria affect about 1.5 billion people in the world, and is mostly found in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. All Dr. Nowzari asked these children to do was to rub sea salt on their gums twice a day. What he found over the 10 years he worked with them was the disease stopped, but the AA bacteria was still alive, suggesting you don’t need to kill bacteria to get rid of disease.
Made Safe: How did this study shape the creation of Lumineux? Dr. Maddahi: This discovery was the jumping-off point for making products that were effective at bringing harmony and balance to the oral microbiome by neutralizing the toxins that cause disease, without killing the bacteria that excrete them and throwing our bodies own natural defensive mechanisms out of whack. The idea was to create, what Lumineux believes to be, the world’s FIRST safe and effective oral care products on the market. Because, in line with Lumineux’s philosophy, we believe any product that distorts the inherent balance of bacteria in the body and kills healthy cells, cannot be truly safe, and cannot truly be effective over time.
This opened the door to a new way of thinking about oral care products, and only using ingredients that were truly necessary to maintaining a healthy microbiome, as well as promoting good bacteria to keep the bad ones at bay. We believe no one had ever approached oral care this way, and so, we truly believe what we have are revolutionary products.
Made Safe: Tell us more about the ingredients you chose for your products. Dr. Maddahi: The key to achieving these high standards was our signature ingredient: Dead Sea salt. This world-renowned and revered salt has an 84 percent mineral content. This makes it the salt with the highest concentration of minerals in the world, and the lowest concentration of sodium. This extremely pure and ancient salt works incredibly well to protect the natural balance of the mouth without killing any bacteria at all, and also forms a protective mineral layer on the enamel of the teeth. We then added xylitol, French essential oils and aloe vera.
Made Safe: And you’ve adapted that baseline formula to address various health issues you’ve seen in your practice, right? Dr. Maddahi: Exactly – I then added naturally occurring oils and minerals to make additional formulas specially designed to address the four primary oral health issues in the world. These four formulas are:
- Clean & Fresh – for fresh breath and gum health
- Hydrating – to relieve symptoms of dry mouth
- Sensitivity – to reduce teeth sensitivity
- Whitening – to remove stains
Made Safe: What kind of research have you done on your products’ efficacy? Dr. Maddahi: Of course, being a healthcare professional, “not doing any harm” just wasn’t enough for me. I needed to also know that these formulas worked at doing things like preventing cavities and reducing inflammation. And I was constantly being faced with questions from other dentists in my field, asking, “If you’re not killing bacteria, what ARE you doing?”
So, I gave my formulas to a few respected research facilities to do efficacy tests on our products, comparing them to the leading brands on the market. I also set out to test for disease-causing toxins.
The studies’ results from University of California, Irvine, demonstrated that our formulas stood up against the leading brands across all four of the formulation categories.
Made Safe: And what did you learn about toxin-producing oral bacteria? Dr. Maddahi: What I found was this theory – that certain toxins would be eliminated by our products without killing the bacteria that caused them – was extremely hard to even study. Most labs I spoke with thought this was a great idea, and yet had no idea how to measure something like that. Finally, after two years, I found a lab that could measure toxins produced by bacteria. The results supported my theory. Over a 60- to 96-hour period of use, the toxins caused by AA bacteria, the toxins that cause cavities and the toxins that cause gum disease, were significantly reduced, but the bacteria still lived.
Made Safe: How does this compare to conventional products on the market? Dr. Maddahi: Interestingly, with bacteria-killing conventional products, research has demonstrated that they got rid of toxins too, but they kill bacteria indiscriminately. What I’ve learned in my practice and through this research, is that conventional products constantly throw off the balance of the mouth’s bacteria, which can cause long-term oral health issues that have never themselves been studied.
The key point here is that we are increasingly treating people as though they have infections when they don’t. Contamination with bacteria does not equal infection, but we treat so many things like they are infections. Use of all of these antibacterial and antimicrobial products for cleaning the home, our bodies, and our mouths may be like taking antibiotics every day. Antibiotics are only needed if there is an infection. We all have things that go into and onto our bodies every day, but we have an incredible system in place to handle those “bad” elements, and when we are constantly bypassing our own defense, that defense can become ineffective as well.
The main takeaway, and point for me, is we don’t want to kill bacteria; we want to neutralize toxins, and protect the systems our body has to keep us healthy.
Made Safe: Why are you excited to work with Made Safe? Dr. Maddahi: This way of thinking, putting health and safe ingredients first, is truly in line with Made Safe, and that’s how I knew we had to be the first oral care company in the world to receive their certification.