Wellness Brands That Give Back: How the Toothpaste Brand Lenny Kravitz Co-Founded Is Bringing Dental Care to the Bahamas
What do you get when you combine modern wellness with proven science and the desire to make the world a better place? If you also add in decades of oral care experience and a little celebrity collaboration, you get Twice Toothpaste, the healthy toothpaste company co-founded by Lenny Kravitz, and brothers Cody and Julian Levine.
It all started in 2015 when the Levine brothers accompanied Lenny on an oral care volunteer mission in Eleuthera, Bahamas. Lenny, a patient and friend of the Levines’ dentist dad, Dr. Jonathon B. Levine, asked if they’d be willing to bring dental care to the rural part of the Bahamas where he lived. “Most of the people had never been to the dentist,” says Twice co-founder Cody Levine. “It’s a luxury that we take for granted.”
Partnering with their parents’ nonprofit GLO Good and Lenny’s Let Love Rule foundation, the Levine brothers headed to the Bahamas to help facilitate a full-service dental clinic—cleanings, whitenings, dentures, extractions and more. “We got to see the emotional side of dentistry,” Cody says. “That mission was life-changing and powerful. We always knew what our dad did for his job, but we hadn’t experienced the difference it can make for ourselves. We could see the confidence patients had after looking in the mirror at their new smiles.”
Creating Change in the Toothpaste Category
Those smiles, along with replicate trips to the Bahamas annually, are what ultimately sparked the idea for Twice Toothpaste. “We were on our second mission,” says Cody, “walking along the beautiful beach, and we started talking about how we could make GLO Good the charity:water for smiles.”
Cody, who’d been in marketing, telling stories, and Julian, who’d been working in investments, began brainstorming around the idea of innovation in the toothpaste category. “There was an opportunity for packaging and flavor updates,” says Cody, “and we began obsessing over ingredients. We saw the chance to create a better product that was founded on giving back.”
Toothpaste typically falls into one of two “polar opposite” categories, says Cody. “On one hand, you have the Crest and Colgate brands—effective at prevention and whitening, but filled with not-so-great ingredients. On the other hand, all natural toothpaste that’s the alternative to mass market brands often leaves behind proven science.”
Natural toothpaste sounds great in theory, he says, but for oral care, it’s one of the few categories where “natural” doesn’t quite do the job. And “doing the job” is key when you look at the connection between oral health and overall health. Says Cody, “120 systemic diseases can be forecasted in the mouth, yet 100 million Americans don’t brush their teeth twice a day. We saw that people don’t enjoy brushing their teeth, but it’s your first line of defense in preventative overall healthcare—how could we change that?”
Twice opts to attempt to make brushing your teeth a more fun and engaging experience, with two different flavors of toothpaste, one intended for the morning (wintergreen + peppermint flavor) and one intended for evening (peppermint with lavender + vanilla). But, says Cody, the toothpaste also has to be effective, which has been their “guiding light.” They skipped ingredients like SLS, PEGs, parabens, sulfates, alcohol and sugar, in favor of vitamins A, C, & E and aloe vera, while still including ingredients like potassium nitrate (for sensitivity relief) and sodium fluoride (for cavity prevention).
A Focus on Giving Back
On top of helping to educate about the benefits of good oral hygiene, the Twice team is focused on how their brand can ultimately change the world of dentistry. Not only do 10 percent of all profits go to GLO Good, but the team is still making annual trips to the Bahamas to provide full-service dental care. They also donated 25 percent of their sales in September 2019 to hurricane relief in the Bahamas, including 2,000 tubes of toothpaste.
“But,” says Cody, “popping up in one place once a year is not enough. We’re really focused on our next mission to the Bahamas in December 2019, but we’re also brainstorming for the future. How can we help GLO Good become a global platform for change around the world?”
One idea is to empower local experts in areas currently without full-service dental care to build their own practices. “It’s a five to 10 year plan at this point,” says Cody, “but we want to make an impact beyond one place.”
“Healthy smiles bring confidence, health and life,” says Cody. “Bringing that to people around the world, through services and education, is the most important part of our mission. Everything is about spreading that message.”
As Twice celebrates its first birthday on World Smile Day (October 4, 2019), Cody and Julian are preparing for their mission to the Bahamas later this year. “We’re not just about cleaning your teeth,” says Cody. “We’re about combining modern wellness with proven science to improve people’s overall health and to help create change in the world.”
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