Sales fueled by link between healthy mouth, overall health

The oral care market is expected to grow modestly in the coming years. According to Mintel's May 2013 U.S. oral care report, total U.S. retail sales for the oral care market reached $6.3 billion in 2012. Looking ahead, the market is expected to experience modest growth — about 2% annually — with sales reaching $7.1 billion in 2017.

The good news is that there may be opportunities for retailers and suppliers to promote increased usage of products like mouthwash, dental floss, dental tools and power toothbrushes.

One way to do this, Mintel suggested, is greater communication around the link between oral heath and overall health, as this could be a major selling point for marketers to help fuel sales of oral care products and encourage consumers to widen their product repertoires.

"The floss/accessories/tools segment grew by 19% from 2007 to 2012, the strongest growth experienced by any product segment in that same time period. This segment could grow further if marketers employed ads that highlight the link between oral bacteria and the potential for infection in other areas of the body," Mintel stated.

Another growth driver is greater integration of such functional benefits as repairing teeth and gums, as well as cosmetic benefits.

Mintel's research found that daily repair of teeth and gums are among the attributes that oral care users are most interested in seeing in their toothpaste. Mouthwash users also expressed an interest in mouthwash offerings that help with the daily repair of teeth and gums. However, mouthwash users expressed a stronger interest (42% versus 33%) in products that have cold/flu-fighting capabilities.

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