|Dental accessories for all ages are the top trend for 2009.
Accessorize Your Smile
Dental essentials are more than just toothpaste as seen in today’s multi-faceted oral care market.
Toothpaste was once the cornerstone of the daily dental routine—fighting plaque and freshening breath with the swift swoosh of a toothbrush. However, with the current emphasis on health and wellness, oral care marketers are complementing hard-working pastes and gels with sturdy flosses, multi-tasking mouthwashes and even futuristic cleaning devices.
Add in the desire for a flashbulb-friendly Hollywood smile, and the quest for whiter and brighter teeth becomes even more imperative for consumers of all ages.
Sales of toothpaste alone totaled $1.5 billion in U.S. supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchandisers excluding Wal-Mart, according to Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) of Chicago, for the year ended Nov. 30, 2008. Factor in corresponding products such as mouthwash/dental rinse ($712 million this year) and toothbrushes/dental accessories ($1.3 billion this year), and total oral care sales weigh in at $3.5 billion—a 7% rise from last year’s sales, as reported by Happi.
While overall growth is steady, some sectors are more dynamic than others, according to a June 2008 report from Mintel, a Chicago-based research firm. For example, dental accessories enjoyed a 19.8% increase in sales from 2005-07, growing from $8.6 million in 2005 to $9.6 million in 2007. Mouthwash/dental rinse also saw strong growth of 13.6%, rising from $602 million in 2005 to $684 million in 2007.Sales of manual toothbrushes rose 6.4%, from $476 million in 2005 to $507 million in 2007.
Conversely, growth of power toothbrushes slowed to 2.3%, according to Mintel, with sales barely rising from $69 million in 2005 to $70 million in 2007. It appears that manufacturers have convinced electric holdouts to purchase premium manual products.
|High-end whitening kits dazzle smiles.
Overall, innovation that promises white teeth and enhanced oral health is key, and is the common thread to virtually all successful segments and products, said Mintel.
The World of Whitening
While whitening kits and strips are still important SKUs for oral care marketers, there was an 8% slip in the whitening kit category for 2008 at $222 million, according to IRI. Perhaps with the economic downturn, more consumers are choosing to whiten and freshen their smiles by way of classic toothpaste products as opposed to more costly at-home cosmetic procedures.
Crest is cashing in on this minimalist trend. With the success of its Whitening Plus Scope toothpaste, P&G recently added a whitening formulation to its Pro-Health line—Crest Pro-Health Whitening in Fresh Clean Mint.
“We developed Crest Pro-Health Whitening toothpaste for the person who wants the health of their smile to be reflected by its appearance,” said Diane Dietz, vice president North American Oral Care for Crest and Oral-B, “They described this appearance as a ‘naturally white’ smile—not an exaggerated or artificial bright smile, but one that brings out the natural color of their teeth.”
Oral Care is Not Just Toothpaste
Toothpaste still leads the oral care category, according to a report from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), but other categories in the market are gaining ground. Portable oral care, tasty mouthwashes and novel dental accessories and tools all recorded a jump in sales for the year.
Here are the sales for the top oral care markets in food, drug and mass merchandisers for the year ended Nov. 30, 2008, excluding Wal-mart stores. All dollar figures are in millions.
Vendor$ Sales% ChangeToothpaste1,265(0.14)
Tooth Bleaching/Whitening Pastes222.5(7.69)
Portable Oral Care8.711.92
As for strips and kits, in the whitening category, many consumers are frustrated by the current experience (i.e. messy trays and gels), or feel whitening is too difficult to fit into their routine, according to Laura Brinker, oral care external relations, Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH. As such, this month Crest Whitestrips is introducing a new product, Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal. The breakthrough adhesive formula molds and adheres strips to the user’s teeth, said Ms. Brinker, so she can go easily go about her daily routine and even drink water without them slipping.
|Binaca revamped its product line.
According to the company, Go Smile’s advanced serum formula contains a higher level of whitening ingredient than earlier formulations, and a special polymer that is more viscous, for better adhesion and optimal contact time with the tooth surface. Each ampoule boasts a pre-measured level of hydrogen peroxide to reveal pearly whites with no pain. The second step of the system is daily use of the company’s stain removing and breath-freshening FlashLites Smile Touch Ups with xylitol along with special toothpastes for morning and evening. The aromatherapy-enriched a.m. and p.m. pastes contain essential oils.
In fact, marketers are banking on the success of natural toothpastes—as seen in the mass-market distribution of the Tom’s of Maine brand—with their own green formulations. Weleda, now sold at Walgreens and Whole Foods, features both a natural paste and gel. Developed by European dentists, its Salt Toothpaste with Baking Soda angles to reduce tartar build-up with sea salt and contains myrrh to stimulate the gums, while the lemon-scented Plant Gel is ideal for sensitive teeth.
“Mint is always popular but now with the popularity of organic goods, many people who use herbal remedies shy away from mint because it can have a synergistic or negative effect on other herbs they might be using,” said Dr. Dana Gelman Keiles, Northern Westchester Dental Center, Yorktown Heights, NY.She told Happi that this trend has overflowed into her dental office, as patients have started to ask for tea tree oil, cloves and lavender flavors in cleanings.
|Oral-B rolled out floss picks.
“Teeth are porous and take up stains easily, so there is a lot maintenance involved,” she said about her invention. “The pen is an ideal accessory for your purse.”
The breath-freshening trend is also still in full swing, as seen in Colgate’s recent rollout of Max Fresh, which is billed as the first toothpaste with mouthwash beads.
And, known for its breath freshening capabilities, Binaca also recently revamped its classic spray line with more portable packaging for 2009. Offered in a lipstick-sized tube, Binaca Breath Freshener Aerosol Sprays are now available in two minty varieties, peppermint or spearmint. Binaca FastBlast, a small non-aerosol pump that fits into a pocket or purse, comes in classic peppermint and new cinnamint.
For those who want to clean their teeth on the go, Colgate plans to roll out Wisp, a portable, self-contained oral care device that lets consumers practice good oral hygiene, in Spring 2009. The small, one-use toothbrush contains a breath-freshening bead built right into the brush head. It enables the user to brush his teeth discreetly at his or while he’s on the move, whether on his way to work or walking through an airport. The Wisp handle even features a toothpick-like shape for consumers who want to give their teeth an extra bit of attention after eating.
The product includes several patent-pending features, including an encapsulated mint oil bead.
High-tech toothbrushes can also brighten teeth. Philips Sonicare’s latest rollout is the HealthyWhite, said to whiten teeth up to two shades in two weeks. The product features a Clean & White mode, which provides 30 seconds of whitening, in addition to two minutes of patented sonic cleaning. In clinical studies, HealthyWhite has been proven to remove everyday stains such as coffee, tea, tobacco and red wine. Regular use of HealthyWhite can also help extend the results of professional whitening treatments, according to Philips.
Oral-B’s newest electronic toothbrush on the market is the Pulsonic. It also features sonic technology, used in dental offices to battle plaque, plus cleans and whitens teeth in two weeks by reducing surface stains by up to 94%, according to the company. The Pulsonic is Oral-B’s slimmest and lightest rechargeable sonic toothbrush yet, and features more than 27,000 sonic vibrations per minute. There are two modes on the model—Clean, a basic run, and Sensitive, designed for gentle care of the tongue and other areas in need of gentle care. A two-minute timer indicates when the dentist-recommended brushing time has been achieved and an additional professional timer signals at 30-second intervals to encourage a thorough brushing of the four quadrants of the mouth.
Besides futuristic toothbrushes, spa whitening systems featuring light-emitting-diodes (LED) are a hot commodity in the oral care market. Skin care Technology, Inc. a Chicago-based manufacturer of the Revitalight skin care system that uses LED technology, recently rolled out a new 15-minute whitening system, RevitaBrite. Typically at a dentist office, teeth whitening costs between $450-$600, but the RevitaBrite system touts the same results for $129-$199 a pop—giving spa owners the opportunity to participate in the oral care market.
Little Grins, Big Products
Dental care guidelines start as early as the teething stage, and marketers are ready to tap the younger set for repeat customers. Most employ children’s characters or flashy graphics to entice little ones’ fleeting attention spans, as dentists say it takes only one minute to fully brush top teethand one more minute for the bottom row.
Now kids can keep time to clucks, moos, oinks and quacks with the new FireFlyBoppin’ Barnyard Musical Timer Toothbrush from Dr. Fresh. This child-friendly brush plays “Old MacDonald” for 60 seconds with a press of a button in the handle. Kids brush one row of teeth until the music stops. Then they activate the button again and brush the other row while the song plays for one more minute. The Boppin’ Barnyard Toothbrush separates the cycles to ensure that kids get into the pattern of one solid minute on each arch. And, because dentists recommend that toothbrushes be replaced every three months, this one has a built-in reminder. After approximately 200 usages, the music will no longer play, and kids and their parents will know it is time to get a new toothbrush.
There are different toothbrushes for distinct age groups, too. Oral B recently released its 4 Stages toothbrush collection for kids. According to the company, each brush is specially designed to address children’s dentition, dexterity and development as they grow. For example, Oral-B Stage 1, 4-24 months, is designed to brush baby’s gums and teeth as they begin erupting. It features baby-soft bristles and a brush head that covers large surfaces and gently massages the gums. Since parents brush a baby’s teeth, the handle is sized for an adult hand and designed to aid grip and control. Other age ranges in the line include Stage 2 for 2-4 year olds, Stage 3 for 5-7 year olds and Stage 4 is for 8 years and up.
As for children’s mouthwashes, even the top brands can hit a bump in the road by way of R&D. Listerine, a leader in the mouthwash/dental rinse area ($226 million in sales for 2008, according to IRI), experienced just that back in 2007. After determining that the preservative system in its Agent Cool was not adequate, Johnson & Johnson issued a voluntarily product recall in April 2007, and only recently re-launched a reformulated version of the kids dental rinse.
New Listerine Agent Cool Blue, available in two kid-friendly flavors, Glacier Mint and Bubble Blast, is an alcohol-free rinse that temporarily tints teeth blue so kids pay more attention to cleaning their chompers. It has a measuring dispenser that helps ensure children use the right amount. This new formulation features an enhanced preservative system that has undergone rigorous quality assurance testing, according to Kathy Weber, vice president, oral care, Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division.
String ‘Em Along
The importance of flossing is often overlooked, even though cavities and gingivitis can start between teeth where plaque accumulates.
The new Oral-B Advantage Floss Picks aimto entice customers with a design that is said to do most of the work.
The products feature “dual-action TextureSlide technology designed to make flossing easier and give consumers a more complete clean,” according to the company. An innovative easy-to-grip handle and minty flavor completes the package.
For green enthusiasts, DenTek is rolling out Natural Floss Picks, the first biodegradable/compostable floss pick made from bioplastic resin.
This material is said to be renewable and an ecologically sound substitute for petroleum-based plastic.
The handles are certified 100% compostable by the Biodegradable Plastics Institute (BPI), and the packaging is made from 100% recyclable material. The product sells about $28 million a year in dental accessories/tools, according to IRI data.
“We developed the Natural Floss Pick based on consumer, customer and employee feedback, as well as our commitment to creating environmentally-friendly oral care products,” said Lex Shankle, vice president of marketing at DenTek.
The Year Ahead
The regimen trend will continue growing in 2009, according to Ms. Brinker of P&G, as more consumers seek systems of oral care products that work better together.
“We also anticipate a new interest among health-oriented consumers in saving tooth enamel from acid attack, and continued desire for long-lasting fresh breath among young, socially-motivated consumers,” she said.
Dr. Jablow agreed that fresh breath and good oral health are still key selling points in a dental care product.
“Traditional mint flavors still reign as the favorites, but now we are seeing more mint combinations such a vanilla mint, green tea and mint, lemon and mint and even some fruit flavors on their own such as mango or apricot,” she told Happi.
“I think that the consumer is looking for a more exotic mix of flavors as our palates are becoming open to global tastes as well.”
It will also definitely be a year of natural health. According to Dr. Keiles, most people are reprioritizing how they spend money, and inherent to that is really simplifying at every opportunity.
“The natural ingredients boom is what it’s all about. Many of our patients look for more organic-based products, cleaner products and products with fewer ingredients,” she said. “I think the popularity of these kinds of products across the board actually led to the greater interest in overall health we’ve begun to see.”
Global Dental Market Worth $10 Billion by 2013, Reports BCC
Healthy smiles are in style across the world, according to a new technical market research report from BCC Research of Wellesley, MA. According to the report, global dental sales reached $7.9 billion in 2008 and will increase to nearly $10.0 billion by 2013, posting compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7%. Retail dental care is the largest segment, worth an estimated $4.8 billion in 2008. This should reach $5.8 billion in 2013.
Furthermore, as incomes are increasing in various regions around the world, such as the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America, consumers are becoming more involved in their dental care. In more established regions such as Western Europe and North America, consumers are looking toward more cosmetic dentistry and preventative tooth care instead of simply corrective dental care.
Oral Care Marketers Reach Out
Through March, Crest and Oral-B are encouraging oral care consumers across the U.S. to pledge to see the difference in their own smile while also making a difference in children’s grins worldwide. The brands have partnered with Operation Smile, a not-for-profit, volunteer medical services organization that provides reconstructive facial surgery to children and young adults in developing countries. When shoppers purchase three Procter & Gamble (P&G) products—Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste, Crest Pro-Health Rinse and Oral-B Vitality Precision Clean power toothbrushes—during the three months, the brands will help Operation Smile give new grins to children around the world.
Tom’s of Maine also launched Dental Health for All last month, an initiative that helps create greater access to dental care for families in need. During the past four years, the program has contributed to nearly 60,000 new annual dental visits. Tom’s of Maine donated a portion of its January 2009 sales for all products toward Dental Health for All and awarded dental clinics across the country.