Pratik Kirve shares seven trends to look out for in the oral care industry
Oral health is one of the essential aspects of maintaining good health and living a quality life. Excruciating toothache, yellow teeth, bad breath, and other chronic oral health conditions all impact a person’s overall health and life. So, taking care of oral health and hygiene is just as important as taking care of other parts of our body – through workouts, exercises, yoga, and nutrition, for example. From ancient methods of utilizing the small stem of neem plant, for strengthening gums and teeth, to utilizing electric toothbrushes, the oral health regime has been changed drastically. Technological advancements, rapid innovations, the launch of new products, or adoption of environment friendly products have all contributed to change. In addition, a surge in awareness about oral health is one of the major factors responsible for the change in regime.
As the oral health regime transformed over the centuries, decades, and years, the trends driving the global oral health industry changed over time. In the recent years, people have become more informed on the products they use in everyday lives. There are a variety of factors that influence their buying decisions. These factors include a preference for eco-friendly products, fast-paced lifestyle, rise in health-consciousness, demand for solving specific problems, and adoption of products made from natural ingredients.
Manufacturing companies have been tracking trends, monitoring buying patterns, carrying out surveys, determining the existing problems, and have even joined hands with dental experts and other companies to improve their offerings.
As customers have a sense of responsibility toward the environment, with plastic pollution on rise, manufacturers decided to develop recyclable products to reduce plastic pollution. Wood toothbrushes and recyclable toothpaste tubes are making their way into the market. Manufacturers have been trying to reduce the carbon footprint during the manufacturing process, too, by utilizing recyclable products instead of virgin plastic.
Mouthwashes made from natural ingredients have been launched to ensure deep cleaning and fresh breath, whilst toothpaste tablets are now hitting the shelves to reduce waste and offer convenience.
Manufacturers have been taking advantage of opportunities presented by the demand for specific products; by emphasizing superior attributes and solving specific issues, such as sensitivity in teeth or whitening of teeth through their products, manufacturers have been preimmunizing their products. The trend of premiumization has arrived and is estimated to stay here for long.
Moreover, some manufacturers have conducted comprehensive research by studying ancient methods of oral care to help develop their products; these products, made from natural ingredients, are becoming the first choice of health-conscious customers.
Whilst standard manual toothbrushes cannot reach some areas in the mouth, technological advancements have helped to create electric toothbrushes and interdental brushes – helping to solve issues such as a build-up of plaque and bacteria.
The demand for innovative oral care products is forecast to increase in the coming years. According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global oral care products market is estimated to grow significantly by 2030. Here are some of the trends that can currently be seen in the oral care industry.
Adoption of eco-friendly products
From toothbrush and toothpaste packaging to dental care products, the pollution caused by plastic is a substantial problem. Tons of non-recyclable plastic waste is generated on a daily basis, causing a considerable rise in pollution levels. As per the statistics by the American Dental Association, nearly one billion toothbrushes made from plastic are thrown away every year in the U.S. This contributes to the creation of 50 million pounds of waste. This outlines an urgent need to address the issue, and immediate action needs to be taken regarding the way products are produced, consumed, and disposed of. This surge in pollution from plastic products has led some manufacturers to develop eco-friendly oral care products. Indeed, technological advancements have allowed the creation of non-plastic alternatives to existing products, and innovative materials are making their way in the daily oral care products. The trend of ‘green’ products has arisen, and is expected to continue in the coming years.
Preserve, one of the innovative material development companies, converts yogurt cups into toothbrushes. Using existing plastic instead of virgin plastic to produce toothbrushes lowers down plastic waste along with saving water, energy, and greenhouse gases during the production process.
Leading market players in the personal care industry, L’Oreal, have partnered with recycling technology development companies, such as PureCycle Technologies, to use eco-friendly packaging materials in their products.
Along with toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes have been made of recyclable plastics. Companies such as Henkel decided to commit to reduce plastic waste and set packaging targets with utilization of fully recyclable toothpaste tubes. The company partnered with its packaging supplier Albéa to convert an entire oral care tube portfolio to recyclable plastic packaging material. Albéa has its proprietary tube technology known as Greenleaf that utilizes a single-blown film. This film is used for production of tubes, which in turn, reduces the overall carbon footprint. The company is expected to begin utilization of this innovative recyclable material by early 2022.
Another leading market player, Unilever, joined hands with its packaging supplier EPL to develop 100 per cent sustainable and renewable toothpaste tubes. However, the brand has not limited their commitment to reduce plastic through toothpaste tubes only. This partnership is expected to convert its entire oral care product range into recyclable and sustainable products by 2025.
Toothpaste tablets being chewed
Though brushing is a mundane and everyday activity, however market players operating in the oral care industry are now launching alternative products. New ways of brushing have emerged and the traditional toothbrush and toothpaste have been replaced with toothpaste tablets. Billions of toothpaste tubes made from plastics can be eliminated with toothpaste tablets. So, people can use toothpaste tablets instead of toothpaste to make a tiny contribution toward sustainability.
One of the leading dental hygiene brands, Denttabs, launched strawberry-flavored toothpaste tablets. The Germany-based manufacturer launched these tablets in India to expand its offerings of sustainable products. The company highlighted that the products are made up of 100 per cent natural ingredients. Moreover, it is vegan, free from plastic materials, and contain no artificial stabilizers or preservatives. The German manufacturer launched the products especially for children; as it is tiresome for parents to instill a habit of proper brushing in their kids, these tablets can become a feasible and convenient alternative to maintain the oral health of children. This range of tablets is suitable for children aged three and above. The utilization of natural ingredients in manufacturing also helps in keeping the environment safe. In addition, the company utilizes cornstarch-laminated paper for its packaging.
Another way in which toothpaste tablets contribute to the environment is through reduction in water usage. As there is a huge amount of water utilized during the brushing process in the world, consumption of toothpaste tablets can reduce water usage significantly. The hospitality industry can reap benefits by offering these tablets to guests instead of toothpaste. Saving a few liters of water every day would lead to saving of gallons of water by the end of year. In addition, guests would use toothpaste twice a day during their stay, so only some of the toothpaste in a tube gets used – the remaining toothpaste, along with the tube, ends up in a landfill. However, toothpaste tablets can be availed on every occasion of brushing from the hotel staff and the remaining tablets in a jar can be kept for next guests. This is an efficient and cost-effective way of serving the guests as well as reducing the waste.
Electric toothbrush use increases
Technology has advanced considerably, and the in-home oral care sector is no exception; the traditional methods of brushing have been replaced with electric toothbrushes. The circular scrub approach has been mostly used by people whilst brushing. However, innovative approaches have been found out to help people maintain their teeth and oral health with technologically advanced toothbrushes.
Tech companies have been launching their products to offer a time-efficient and convenient option for people, whilst ensuring gum health is not compromised. SymplBrush, an electric toothbrush developer, launched its electric toothbrush to offer an effective and efficient daily brushing routine to people. The company consulted with leading dental experts and designed a brush and paste that would solve the common issues faced by people when it comes to oral health. According to research, people normally brush for 45 seconds instead of two minutes. The company decided to solve the issue by providing a toothbrush that cleans teeth in 30 seconds. Their toothbrush contains 20 times more bristle coverage compared to traditional brushes. Once the button is pressed, the brush applies appropriate pressure for cleaning teeth and removing plaque. The company also launched SymplPaste that can be used along with the toothbrush. In addition, the company encourages its users to submit brushes and toothpaste tubes to the company for recycling.
Philips, one of the leading tech companies globally, launched Sonicare, an electric toothbrush to offer rapid and thorough cleaning. It is capable of delivering nearly 62,000 brush strokes each minute. Moreover, the company designed the toothbrush in such a way that it can reach the hard-to-reach spots in mouth and back of the teeth. Equipped with its sonic technology, it regulates fluid between teeth and gumline for deep and sensitive cleaning. Moreover, some people find it difficult to adjust to a new electric toothbrush. The company took care of this issue by designing the toothbrush to adjust the power during the first 14 uses, then ramp up.
The trend toward effortless and thorough brushing has arrived and electric toothbrush adoption is expected to increase in the next few years. R&D activities to develop advanced electric toothbrush that can send data such as brush pressure, brushing duration, areas covered in mouth, and others are ongoing.
Sugar-free toothpastes hit the shelves
If blood sugar levels are not controlled in the body, they can hamper gum health and cause various infections. In addition, high levels of sugar can reduce immunity and lead to various diseases. One of the majorly used forms of sweetener is sodium saccharine. It is nearly 300 times sweeter compared to sugar. It helps in overcoming the unpleasant taste of other ingredients used in toothpaste. These sweetening agents lead to tooth decay. Regulating blood sugar levels is necessary for leading a healthy oral life. So, many oral care market players began offering sugar-free toothpaste. The sweetening agents used in the toothpaste are eliminated to reduce the overall sugar levels. However, manufacturers found a way to make the toothpaste taste good. This toothpaste is helpful for not only diabetic patients but also health-conscious people. Moreover, it helps in maintaining levels of salivary glucose and salivary pH in diabetic non-diabetic individuals.
Vicco launched Vicco Vajradanti sugar-free paste. It is specifically formulated for diabetic patients and useful for health-conscious people also. It does not contain sugar or added chemicals in any form. It is manufactured from natural ingredients and contains natural analgesic and antiseptic features. Moreover, it is helpful in treatment of dental problems such as swollen gums, bleeding gums, and other periodontal disorders.
AnOxident launched its Balance toothpaste, which is made from plant and milk extracts. This toothpaste helps in maintaining natural pH balance, improves antioxidant levels, and lowers the impact of salivary glucose on gums and teeth. It also contains Fluoride and Xylitol to offer caries protection.
Another leading player in the industry, Colgate, launched its ayurvedic toothpaste, which is made from natural ingredients. It does not contain sugar and possesses ingredients that provide wound healing properties. Moreover, ingredients such as neem, jamun, and amla are used in manufacturing and they provide astringent, anti-germ, and antioxidant properties. Keeping salivary glucose levels in check is essential for overall oral health and sugar-free toothpaste plays a crucial role. So, the trend will continue in the coming years.
Premiumization stands for raising the value of products by emphasizing on the unique attributes. Companies operating in the market are not limiting their offering to cavity protection only. They have been investing in development of products that would offer overall mouth care. These products also focus on gums and microbiome. The approach to widen the attributes along with eco-friendliness and innovation drives the trend of premiumization. Toothbrushes and toothpaste are the products that contribute to the highest share of the market. Along with these products, there are oral rinses, dental care products, and others that would experience the trend.
One of the major ways in which companies label their products as premium is through improved experience. Companies develop products with novel flavors and unusual tastes. Launching toothpastes with mint chocolate flavor and lime spearmint flavor help in widening user base.
Another way in which companies are establishing a premium image for their products is through providing products for specific requirements. Users prefer products that would solve their specific issues, through sensitivity relief and tooth whitening. Sensodyne is well-known for the former, whilst Colgate, Moon and Sportlight help with the latter.
Similarly, companies launch child-specific oral products and charge higher prices than they would for conventional products.
One of the major factors that has driven the trend of premiumization is an enhanced understanding of dental ailments. People are becoming aware about chronic conditions in mouth and their effects on the overall health. For instance, gingivitis is one of the diseases that slowly destroy gums and teeth-supporting bones. Moreover, there are conditions that can impact beyond oral health. Periodontitis-linked ailments lead to diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory diseases. So, prevention becomes the most important factor. Regular elimination of plaque is essential and usage of products that ensure safety of gums is significant.
Usage of interdental products surges
Though brushing methods are changing slowly, there is still a large percentage of people who prefer traditional ways of brushing. However, toothbrushes are not able to reach every corner of the mouth, so bacteria can still grow in the interdental spaces, which in turn can lead to tooth decay, if left unattended. So, usage of interdental products becomes essential. These products eliminate biofilms and plaques along with enabling optimum cleanliness and freshness.
In addition, there are minor issues such as bad breath, along with major issues such as gingivitis, that lead to major health conditions if ignored. These issues prompt people to choose products such as interdental toothbrushes, mouthwash, floss and others. Market players have realized the increase in demand for interdental products and offering their products.
Quip, a design-driven oral care product developer, launched its mouthwash along with its existing product portfolio of electric toothbrushes, flosses, and toothpastes. The mouthwash contains fluoride, xylitol, and 0.07 per cent cetylpyridinium chloride, Moreover, it does not contain alcohol or other artificial flavors, as possessed by other mouthwashes. Considering environmental concerns, it offers a reusable dosage cap and refillable dispenser.
As flossers have been considered as one of the major interdental products across the world, market players have been tapping into the market. SmileDirectClub, Inc. launched two water flossers to ensure optimum oral health for customers. These water flossers are more effective than the string flosses. Both of its flossers are 50 per cent more effective in comparison to string floss and eliminate nearly 99 per cen5 of plaque below gumline and in between teeth. These flosses prove to be beneficial for people with braces and cleaning hard-to-reach areas in the mouth. With the launch of these new flossers, the company aims to expand its offering and attract new consumers.
Pulling oil products in demand
Advanced oral care products have been making a buzz, but there is a large customer base that prefer ingredients, methods, and techniques used in ancient scriptures for taking care of the mouth. Companies have been making breakthroughs by studying the ancient Ayurveda methods and products and acquiring knowledge to develop new products. Leading market players, such as Dabur and Colgate, launched pulling oil for deep cleansing of mouth, eliminating dental problems, and ensuring optimum health.
Dabur India Ltd., one of the leading Ayurveda-based products development firms, launched Dabur Red Pulling Oil. With the launch of the product, Dabur entered the mouthwash market and aims to transform the industry with its offering of the Ayurveda-based products. The company manufactured the product with natural oils and herbs. There is no alcohol in the product. Moreover, it followed the process mentioned in Ayurvedic scriptures; there is an oil-based oral detox regimen mentioned in the scriptures called Kavala-Gandusha therapy. This product is manufactured based on such therapy. In addition, there are many natural ingredients used in the manufacturing of this product. Coconut oil prevents plaque and gingivitis, Tulsi prevents bad breath, sesame oil consolidates gums and teeth, and clove to lower down tooth ache. Moreover, cinnamon oil provides relief against the sore throat and thyme mint plays a crucial role in prevention of tooth decay. The product also provides other health benefits such as improved hormonal balance, relief from sinuses, and detoxification.
Another leading market player also launched an Ayurvedic pulling oil. Colgate Palmolive (India) Ltd. launched its pulling oil, consisting of lemon, sesame oil, cloves, and other natural ingredients. More companies are expected to launch similar products, as the opportunities for the Ayurvedic products are abundant across the world. It will be interesting to see how pulling oil will compete with the advanced mouthwash products over time.
New ways of reaching customers have emerged and the digital era has been witnessing changes in shopping preferences as well. So, market players have been making their products available on online platforms along with traditional retail and specialty stores. This provides the boost to the online beauty and personal care market. Huge opportunities lie ahead in the market and the coming years will showcase why it is one of the most lucrative markets. These aforementioned trends are driving the oral care industry and there will be new trends emerging in the coming decade. The objective that remains constant is the improvement of oral health. New trends will revolve around this objective.
Pratik Kirve is writer, blogger, and sport enthusiast. He holds a bachelor degree in electronics and telecommunication engineering, and is currently working as team lead - content writing at Allied Market Research. He has avid interest in writing news articles across different verticals. When he is not following updates and trends, he spends his time reading, writing poetry, and playing football. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org