Apparently, the world’s obsession with bright, white teeth has been doing quite a number on our oral health.
Where most over-the-counter kits and quick fixes are concerned, in fact, they’ve actually been doing more harm than good. Though using large doses of peroxides and bleaching agents to erode surface stains does technically work, without a dental professional’s help, it also erodes the teeth underneath the stains.
Entrepreneur sisters Golnar and Haleh Abivardi know it all too well, too. As medical dentists and the founders of leading international dental group Swiss Smile, they’ve seen the results up close and personal for decades.
"The top complaints of our patients using whitening toothpaste or products was hypersensitivity, stained teeth and blistering of the gums,” says Haleh, through sparkly-white teeth over Zoom.
“Overuse would even cause the removal of the enamel surface and the yellow dentin could then shine through. Instead of getting whiter, they were more discoloured.”
It was a difficult problem for the sisters to tackle. While they knew they could offer safer, better whitening treatments in-clinic, the at-home teeth whitening market had grown exponentially—right alongside the market for tooth sensitivity, and right alongside their own business.
In 2002, one year after Crest Whitestrips launched in the US, the Abivardis launched the first Swiss Smile clinic—with zero patients, twenty employees, and no working capital, in the middle of a mall—in Zurich. "Everybody thought 'these two are really crazy',” says Golnar. “This was a really new concept."
The sisters didn't sleep more than three or four hours a night that year, working to create a corporate identity while running the clinic (365 days a year, from early morning to late evening), but the concept quickly proved its worth.
"I remember our mom always saying 'if you have a vision, go for it'," notes Golnar, and so they did, adding more clinics, a dental hygiene school, and dental academy to the Swiss Smile brand.
By 2007, they expanded the business throughout Switzerland and opened branches in St. Moritz, Moscow and London, promoting the importance of practical and pleasant oral health.
Of course, people only go to a dentist once or twice a year, and some of the most significant oral health trials and tribulations come down to the way people look after their teeth at home. "We realise that our vision was not complete," says Haleh. “It was actually only the beginning.”
Enter vVardis, the sisters’ brand new line of sustainably-produced oral care products supercharged with the first tooth whitener that is actually good for your teeth.
"We believe in science and technology, but also in the efficacy of natural medicine," says Golnar, "and that's why we have combined the best of both worlds in our new products."
Of course, without anything on the market to compare their holistic ambitions to, it didn’t happen overnight. After a few years in the lab, however, the sisters started to see incredible results from a natural hydrogel compound that managed to whiten and protect teeth. Now FDA-approved and globally-patented, the WX Formula is at the heart every product in the vVardis ritual.
“WX is so great because it copies nature in the way it builds the tooth,” says Haleh. “It sheets the teeth, combining with fluoride in a protective matrix, that encourages the enamel to rebuild itself naturally.”
Its whitening action is also peroxide-free, coming from hydroxyapatite (HA) crystals that scatter and reflect light, rather than stripping away tooth enamel. Because of this, products containing WX Formula can be used daily—even on sensitive teeth, composite crowns, and fillings.
"It combines natural medicine with science, innovation with comfort, and premium quality with sustainability," Golnar says, with the kind of easy-breezy confidence afforded to those who really know what they're talking about.
Thankfully, the four vVardis products launching today all contain WX Formula.
The highest concentration can be found in the vVardis Aletsch, $250, a brush-on gel serum that makes teeth whiter, smoother and glossier from the first application.
“I have four children—the youngest ones are 10 and 12—and I never gave them whitening products. Not even the Swiss Smile products [created as a joint venture years prior],” Haleh admits. “Aletsch is the first whitening I’ve giving to my little ones because I know there’s no harm.”
Next up, the vVardis Edelweiss toothpaste and Weissbad mouthwash, $55 and $45 respectively, which are packed with fluoride, hand-picked Alpenrose (an antibacterial humectant) and high-antioxidant Edelweiss extract for long-lasting freshness.
The vVardis Rheinholz, $40, comes last (but least only in price). The BPA-free toothbrush boasts a handle crafted out of sustainably-cultivated FSC Certified Swiss beechwood, a variety of tapered bristle combinations that support whitening, and an all-natural infusion of anti-bacterial carbon particles that help you clean teeth more thoroughly, yet gently, than conventional toothbrushes.
Sustainability is of the utmost importance to the Abivardis, too. All wood, paper and secondary packaging is made from FSC-Certified wood, and the Edelweiss toothpaste even comes in a patented PICEA® wood tube, which is made from 95% renewable resources and utilizes sawdust created by carpenters.
"For us,” says Golnar, “the human and holistic elements of dentistry have always come first. When your mouth is healthy your body follows."