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Surfactants have a very special function: they make it possible for oil-based ingredients to be
dissolved into a water-based solution. A surfactant molecule is characterized by its two distinct functional
properties: a polar, hydrophilic ("water loving") property and a nonpolar, hydrophobic ("water fearing")
property. This dual receptivity allows oils to be dissolved into solution with water.
It is necessary
to have such an ingredient in our mouthwash because the natural mint oils we use for flavoring would not
otherwise mix with the water, glycerin and aloe base. Poloxamer 335 and 407 represent the best choices to
serve this function in our product because they perform their function safely and effectively without
negatively affecting the mouthwash’s appearance, taste, or smell. We also chose these ingredients because they
are nonionic surfactants, which means that it far less likely to react with the other ingredients that make up
Because Poloxamer 335 and 407 are derivatives of a non-renewable resource, we have investigated over
1600 commercially available ingredients in the hopes that we might discover a natural ingredient which can
perform the same function but do so in a more renewable fashion. Although several ingredients yielded
promising results, none of them ultimately proved to be a superior choice for the purposes of this
formulation. One alternative we considered, for example, performed the oil-dispersion function well but gave
the product a cloudy brown appearance that testers found unappealing and unappetizing. Other alternatives
failed because they created less stable formulas, added a bitter flavor, or were not available in a food
grade. Alcohol could also solubilize the flavor oils if it were included in large enough quantities, but for
many reasons we feel strongly that our mouthwash should be alcohol-free.
Poloxamer 335 and 407
represent the best choice at this time for dispersing our flavor oils into our mouthwash base. We are always
looking for ways to take advantage of the latest advances in herbal science, however, and would be excited to
discover a plant-based ingredient that could serve in its place.
Poloxamer 335 and 407 have no known toxicity and a long history of safe use in a wide range of oral
and topical pharmaceutical products. They are not known or suspected to have carcinogenic effects or any other
Derived from natural gas and oil, Poloxamer 335 and 407 belong to a category of ingredients generally
known as surfactants. Poloxamer 407 is in all of our mouthwashes except the Natural Cleansing Mouthwash, which
contains poloxamer 335.
We've set high standards in defining "natural", "sustainable", and "responsible". Stewardship Model
A second opinion is always a good idea.
Visit the American Botanical Council for the latest research on our herbal ingredients. Read the expert research