October is National Dental Hygiene Month and, just in time for the occasion, a new darkly-colored toothpaste has debuted. My Magic Mud Whitening Toothpaste is the new type of healthy toothpaste that combines bentonite clay with coconut shell to create a blend of extra-whitening toothpaste that has no GMOs, no fluoride and is certified by the Natural Cosmetics Standard. At present, this unusual black toothpaste is offered in four flavors: Wintergreen, Spearmint, Cinnamon Clove, and Peppermint. It is the "activated charcoal tooth powder" that truly helps it whiten teeth to a bright sheen that detoxes your teeth while it polishes them.

Described as “charcoal oral care,” it both whitens and polishes teeth and has earned endorsements by many dentists and health professionals. As a result, the startup brand--which began selling its wares in farmers markets--has become exceedingly successful and popular. Founder and CEO Jessica Arman recently granted an exclusive interview where she discussed starting the business, being an entrepreneur, and creating toothpaste.

Inventing, flavors, and toothpaste

Meagan Meehan (MM): What first inspired you to start working with teeth/toothpaste?

Jessica Arman (JA): My daughter had severely sensitive teeth and was in and out of the dentist’s office starting at a very young age. Everything that I tried, from natural to conventional, didn’t work for her.

I realized that I needed to try something different. I decided to look into ancient remedies and compare notes with modern dental research, and I stumbled onto an ingredient deck that I couldn’t believe wasn’t available in the market. I didn’t have any desire to start a business; I just had to invent this for my child, because it didn’t exist.

After my daughter got amazing results, she put up a before/after shot on social media, and I was flooded with requests. We started at a local farmers market, and now we’re in over 15,000 locations, kind of surreal.

MM: When did you discover “My Magic Mud” and what about its ingredients make it so special?

JA: My Magic Mud was never supposed to be a product.

It was a necessity for my family, and this was about two years before the charcoal craze. I started sharing this product with people for free and encouraging others to make it, and after my daughter posted before and after pictures, we just had so much demand we were essentially forced to make this is a business. The “special” ingredients are simple, ancient, effective; no gimmicks, though it’s hard for it not to seem overhyped because everyone is starting to market their version of charcoal now that the benefits have gone mega-viral. We were here before the trend, and we’ll be hereafter.

The difference with our brand is that we’ve put tens of thousands into research and backing our claims. We also helped lead a massive movement in the community we started our business in, San Marcos, Texas, to get fluoride out of the water.

We’re serious about our commitment to natural oral care. The business side is secondary to this commitment.

MM: This toothpaste is black—but it does not leave any lasting stains on teeth. That said, does its color off-put some people who are used to white or blue kinds of toothpaste?

JA: That's a great question. Most people think it's cool and fun, but I have had a few customers that had a hard time with the color. One woman told me that she couldn't look at herself in the mirror while she's brushing. LOL!

MM: How did you get the exact mixture/blend right?

JA: Practice makes perfect. It probably took me about one-hundred different blends before I felt that it was perfect. There are so many different aspects to a product: results, taste, consistency, look, etc.

It was most important that the toothpaste work but it was also vital that it tastes great. There was no way that I was going to ask people to use a product that I wasn't excited to use myself.

MM: What kinds of benefits can people expect from this toothpaste and how did you select its flavors?

JA: These ingredients do an absolutely fantastic job pulling the stains from the pores of the teeth. On top of that, it absorbs the toxins and bacteria from your mouth and leaves you with a really clean feeling. I did a bit of market research and found that there were certain "go to" flavors that I wanted to use, and at the same time I wanted my toothpaste to taste better than anything else on the market.

I knew there was a way to make it a great product that tasted great too. I was determined not to sacrifice one for the other.

MM: What was it like to get My Magic Mud on the market and sold on store shelves?

JA: I honestly still have to pinch myself, daily. I never thought, in a million years, that I would have created something that is beneficial for others. It makes me feel so good to know that I'm helping people. Besides being a Mom, there's nothing better.

Startup companies and future plans

MM: What have people’s responses to the My Magic Mud toothpaste been like thus far and are you planning to expand the brand in any way?

JA: People's reaction is the best part of what I do. We've had so many people tell us that they'll never use another brand of toothpaste again.

My Magic Mud is not your normal oral care brand. By establishing this startup company, we've broken the rules on all fronts, and I think that's part of the appeal. Along with how it makes your mouth feel and the great taste, there's just something cool about going against the norm. My husband says we run our business like a rock band! So, I guess you could say we have groupies, haha.

MM: What other items have you invented and are you working on anything right now?

JA: I have a ton of tricks up my sleeve for the near future! I'm excited about some surprises I'm working on so stay tuned.