Shine On

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | November 2, 2016

Oral care products are rising to the task with innovative components.

From prestige to mass, today’s consumers are looking for the most effective and affordable dental care that they can find most convenient.

“They want products that are trustworthy and are quick and simple to use,” said Dr. Marc Lowenberg, a cosmetic dentist and principal in the practice of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor, New York City. “Most often people shop at their neighborhood drugstore or online to find the latest products.”

Oral care sales rose 3% last year, according to market research firm Euromonitor International, Chicago. While many categories in 2015 managed to record low, single-digit growth, a sharp upturn in dental floss sales, along with strong sales of mouth fresheners, enabled the wider category to register a stronger performance than that of the previous year. Almost exclusively, non-traditional floss products such as dental picks and interdental brushes are driving gains as more consumers perform oral care tasks on the go, or at work after lunch, according to Eleanor Dwyer, a research associate at Euromonitor.

“Advances in technology are helping to stretch the boundaries in oral care as new products continue to convince people to expand their oral care habits or upgrade the products they currently use,” Dwyer told Happi. “Often these new products are made with children in mind as it is often very difficult to get them to stick to an oral care routine.”

According to Dwyer, children represent a great deal of upsell potential if they can be converted into regular consumers. This past year there’s been an increase in the number of products designed to create an educational experience.

Tooth sensitivity also drove consumer trends in US oral care in 2015. Sales of sensitive toothpaste rose 6%, according to IRI, to reach a 13% value share. Sales of Sensodyne, the leading toothpaste for sensitive teeth, rose 13% last year and the brand now controls 15% of the sensitive teeth category. Toothpaste targeted at improving gum health also increased its share of value sales, as did acid wear/enamel strengthening toothpaste, with these two types commanding shares of 3% and 7%, respectively, in 2015.

Tom’s of Maine continues to build an audience as consumers search for natural formulas. Sales rose 22% in 2015 to $67 million, according to Euromonitor. The demand for simpler formulas is propelling other brands, too.

“While consumers have become increasingly interested in what they’re eating and what’s actually in many consumer care products, most have outsourced their mouths to the dentist and the well-known corporate brands… generally, products that read, ‘whitening’ or ‘anti-cavity’ are what consumers are seeking out regardless of ingredients,” noted James Hagen, CEO/co-founder of independent oral care brand Boka, Minneapolis, MN, which is sold through its website boka.com and Birchbox. “We are noticing a new consumer emerging who wants to take their mouth back and is starting to ask the right questions about healthier, more natural ingredients.”

According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), toothpaste sales rose 3.1% to $3.06 billion in US multi-outlet (supermarkets, drugstores, mass-market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains) for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 4, 2016. Mouthwash sales improved 3.7% to $1.5 billion while toothbrushes/dental accessories increased 3.4% to $2.6 billion.

Noteworthy Rollouts
The latest dental creation from Procter & Gamble (P&G) is Crest 3D White Monthly Whitening Boost Whitestrips. Used for one hour, once a month to remove tough stains from coffee, tea and wine, the product is described as ideal for consumers who want a white smile year round but don’t want to do a full Whitestrips treatment. The package contains 12 treatments to last a full year.

Earlier this season, a federal court entered a permanent injunction barring a private label manufacturer from infringing P&G’s substantial Crest Whitestrips intellectual property rights. Specifically, the Court enjoined Onuge Personal Care (Guangzhou) Co. Ltd. from manufacturing, offering, selling, or distributing products that infringe P&G’s patents or its Crest Whitestrips trade dress or trademarks. This case follows a long line of P&G’s actions to protect its Crest Whitestrips patents, against a host of competitors including Clio USA, Inc., Team Technologies, Inc. and Brushpoint Innovations, Inc., as previously reported in Happi.

Another development at P&G is Oral-B Genius, which is billed as an intelligent toothbrush system. This $249.99 SKU recently launched on Amazon.com and combines a variety of bells and whistles: revolutionary Position Detection Technology with Triple Pressure Control and a Professional Timer. For example, the Triple Pressure Sensor Technology protects gums from overaggressive brushing by visually indicating when too much pressure is applied, automatically slowing down the brush head speed, and stopping completely. The technology reportedly helps 93% of aggressive brushers reduce brushing force. An Oral-B App 4.1 is available on iTunes and Google Play for those who want to link up their smartphone to the process.

Meanwhile, at Colgate-Palmolive Corp., which is still seeing success with its recent Colgate Optic White launch—Tom’s of Maine rolled out two new items. Its Botanically Fresh Toothpaste features flavors like tea tree, sage, clove, myrrh, chamomile and spearmint oils. The SLS- and fluoride-free formula is sold exclusively at Whole Foods. Additionally, Tom’s of Maine introduced a natural children’s toothbrush featuring a handle and dye-free bristles made from renewable castor oil plants and mineral-based pigments. The simple, fully recyclable toothbrush was designed with an angled neck for gentle, effective cleaning for kids (18 months to 6 years old).

Also big in the naturals sector is Dr. Hauschka, which is making a foray into dental care this season. Developed in cooperation with dentists, the new Dr. Hauschka Med Oral Care products are made of plant ingredients to soothe and fortify teeth and gums while stimulating natural saliva production for healthy, balanced oral flora without fluorides and sodium laureth sulfate, according to the company. Products range from a lemon-flavored Sensitive Saltwater Toothpaste, where witch hazel hydrosol and sea salt help maintain healthy teeth and gums as mint-free is recommended by homeopaths to Fortifying Mint Toothpaste, which utilizes extracts of horse chestnut to fortify the gums and support oral health. Sage Mouthwash keeps breath fresh with natural essential oils while extracts of ratanhia, myrrh and potentilla firm and fortify the gums. But as it contains 9% alcohol, it is not suitable for kids, said the company. The line launched last month online at Pharmaca.com.

NYC-based dentist Dr. Michael Apa successfully launched Apa Beauty online at apabeauty.com. There are several variants: Apa Tooth Gloss, touted as the first-to-market tooth gloss that reflects light to make chompers shine while also freshening breath; Apa Pink, an oral gel said to nourish and rejuvenate gums; and Apa Blue Lip Shine, an azure-hued lipgloss that adds shine and is infused with minty blue crystals, which make teeth appear even whiter! For the holiday season, the $140 Apa White Kit includes an Apa White Toothpaste, Apa White Rinse and Apa Pink, plus a chic lucite tray designed by Jonathan Adler, custom fitted to house each product while looking trendy in your bathroom.

Another New York-based brand, Power Toothpaste, is accepting orders online at powertoothpaste.com. The Brooklyn-based company has made its caffeinated toothpaste available to the public after shipping some 2,000 tubes that were pre-ordered through a $40,000 crowdfunding campaign.

“Too many people aren’t taking care of their teeth, even when they know they should,” said Dan Meropol, founder of Power Toothpaste, Brooklyn, NY. “At Power Toothpaste we believe a big part of this is that oral care hasn’t been exciting for decades, and the products that Big Toothpaste is offering just aren’t good enough. Our mission is to make oral care fun and exciting again, and above all else, to get people brushing.”

Naturals leader Lush is expanding its oral care offerings this season with new dental powders and tablets. According to Meghan Campbell, North American brand and product trainer, Lush Cosmetics,  Vancouver, BC, the SKUs rely on effective cleansing ingredients such as sodium bicarbonate, kaolin or sea salt, as well as menthol crystals, peppermint and citrus oils to leave the mouth feeling refreshed.

“We never invent based on what’s currently popular, we like to give our creativity free rein. Many of our Toothy Tabs and Tooth Powders were inspired by experimental cuisines, for instance, and so our product inventors wound up using unique ingredients like wasabi, charcoal, fine sea salt, powdered gunpowder tea and black pepper oil to keep your teeth free of plaque, your smiles bright and your breath fresh.”

Under Development
Most oral care launches are aimed at two-legged consumers, but toothpaste for pooches gives entrepreneurs plenty of reasons to smile.

US pet oral care product sales reached $775 million last year, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 5% during the past decade, according to Packaged Facts. 

The market, which includes edible treats/chews and food as well as non-edible products such as toothbrushes and breath drops, is forecast to grow to nearly $1 billion by 2020!

According to Hagen of Boka, the most exciting trends in dental home care are simply “more honest” products.

“The reality is that the most important part of oral health is consistent home care. Removing deceptive marketing practices in dentistry is crucial to getting people to consider home oral care a daily ritual that can actually be pleasurable,” he told Happi. “Moreover, more research is tying oral health to the body, and this systemic understanding is leading to better focus on overall health beyond cosmetics.”

Ultimately, normally-staid hygiene categories will soon see a distinct shift toward systems and products that employ digital tools and unique technologies to better manage personal hygiene, as today’s digitized and connected consumers seek to align this preference across their lifestyles, according to consumer insight firm Canadean. The company’s latest report finds that consumer interest is growing in electronic hygiene devices. Through automation, many of these products benefit from perceived superior efficacy credentials in comparison to traditional counterparts, as consumers seek out the best way to achieve their hygiene goals.

According to Canadean, the boom in smartphones has created greater interest in intelligent and integrated solutions, which can monitor and better manage specific facets surrounding personal hygiene and wellbeing in general.

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