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Bite’s Back in Oral Care

By: Colin Decker, Euromonitor International
Posted: January 31, 2012, from the January 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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In conjunction with this shift to innovation, companies are positioning many of these regimens as “professional quality” and marketing them as at-home alternatives to dental visits, especially in the area on whitening. Colgate’s ProClinical range provides targeted benefits for health and beauty seekers through what it claims are clinically proven technological features that have three variants: Daily Whitening for removing surface stains, Daily Cleaning for polishing teeth and Daily Renewal for Enamel for fortifying tooth enamel.

In other developed markets such as Germany, consumers are beginning to follow increasingly complex oral care regimens as they seek to ensure better dental health. Following the advice of their dentists, consumers are using more dental floss on a daily basis before cleaning their teeth, and there is an ongoing switch to power toothbrushes. Many consumers are also beginning to follow teeth cleaning with the use of mouthwashes/dental rinses.

In less mature markets like China, there was a shift toward more intricate oral health regimens in 2010. This resulted in good growth for dental floss, which saw 7% current value growth in 2010 over the previous year, with a growing number of consumers flossing, brushing and then rinsing with mouthwashes/dental rinses.

Product Innovation Spurs Growth in Mature Markets

Battery-powered toothbrushes have seen success in countries such as Japan, the U.S. and Germany—markets that have seen little growth in other oral care categories. In the U.S. and Germany, battery-powered toothbrushes are seen as a more effective method for oral care, and despite their higher unit prices, they are seen as an investment in oral health by the consumer. In Japan, growth is driven by sales of compact battery toothbrushes, many of which are marketed to professional women who brush their teeth after lunch at work (the products are designed to look like a cosmetic product).

In the U.K., brand owners have taken innovation to great lengths—beyond just teeth whitening to features like enamel regeneration and teeth polishing. In 2007, Arm & Hammer launched the Enamel Care Sensitive product that is said to contain a liquid form of calcium, the key component in tooth enamel. The idea is that the calcium rebuilds the tooth by plugging microscopic gaps in the enamel. The repair stops dental nerves from becoming exposed, preventing pain. Arm & Hammer has increased in market share in the U.K. from 0.9% in 2005 to 1.4% in 2010 with the help of products like these.

Value-added Products Show the Most Growth, Potential