Food & BeverageAustralian dentist creates world first functional oral health beverage as new category emerges

Australian dentist creates world first functional oral health beverage as new category emerges

Swirlit is the new functional beverage formulated by a Sydney dentist Angie Lang to fill a gap in the market for a drink that wouldn’t contribute to dental problems.

Dr Lang created Swirlit, a ready-to-drink beverage with xylitol and cinnamon, after seeing the detrimental effects of acidic beverages with high sugar content across her patients. Discovering there was no beverage on the market that prevented or didn’t worsen these dental problems, Dr Lang set out to create a drink with no sugar and a neutral pH.

“I wanted to create something I could recommend to my patients, but rather than it being just a substitute it became functional. We have all of these drinks for gut health, mental health and energy. Swirlit is designed to be a functional drink in the oral health space,” she said.

“People have been on the no sugar band wagon for a while but there hasn’t been a lot of thought given to the impact of preservatives and acid on oral health. Every single ingredient in Swirlit is there because research shows it helps teeth. While we’re not making therapeutic claims, research has shown 8g of xylitol per day prevents dental decay in children.”

Swirlit prevents food sticking to teeth, gives an “instant clean mouth feel” and neutralises bad breath. Dr Lang said Swirlit also doesn’t contribute to the environmental problems of the things you spit out in the name of oral health, like traditional toothpaste and mouthwash.

While there’s nothing on the market quite like Swirlit yet, there’s a few functional oral health drinks starting to appear overseas. I’m really excited there is another functional oral health drink out there now as it means there’s a category emerging; we’re not on our own. We see ourselves sitting in stores with the coconut waters and ice teas, and as the functional beverage category continues to emerge in Australia, that’s where we want to be.”

“A lot of products come into the world that’s not quite ready for it yet. Buyers ask us, ‘Where do I put you in the store?’, but when they try it they get it straight away. We outsell 600ml coke and vitamin water where we’re stocked together. People are buying six at time.”

Swirlit has been 10 years in the making, culminating in 2012 with Dr Lang moving to Los Angeles for help in product formulation before moving manufacturing back to Melbourne, Australia.

“I sold my dental business, I sold my home, I sold everything so now we’re free falling. I’ve put everything on the line; we’ve taken the kids out of private school. But they’ve backed me.”

“I just wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I don’t see this through. I can see the solution and I can see the problems it’s addressing, I think it’s time. There’s so many health conscious consumers out there and there’s a lot of successful products from a fad perspective, but not a science perspective. We are addressing a problem, rather than creating another fad. There’s not many products that will do what it says it will do and you can feel it instantly.”

In 2004 Dr Lang held the dental health patent for a chewing gum. “The day after it was registered, Wrigley registered one; mine was approved and their’s was denied. At the time, I didn’t know what to do with it, so I stopped paying the fee. I didn’t want that to happen again so when it came to the drink, I thought I just have to do this. I can’t let that happen again.”

Dr Lang has 21 new products in development with research project underway with Sydney University Charles Perkins Centre. Swirlit is currently stocked in health food stores, cafes and day spas and distributed to dental practices via Henry Schein, with discussions underway with Woolworths and petrol and convenience majors.

200ml | (6 pack) $29.96

Lisa Crawford Jones is an award winning journalist, editor of What's New in Healthy Products and content manager to Naturally Good. She's a health content specialist with two decades’ experience spanning senior positions in public health policy; media, communications and advertising; and both consumer and trade markets for healthy packaged goods.

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