Still room to grow within oral care market

The oral care market is likely to continue to experience an upswing in sales going forward, but there are opportunities for even greater growth.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

The oral care market generated U.S. retail sales of $6.4 billion in 2012, research firm Mintel stated in its "Oral Care–U.S.–May 2013" report. The market is expected to grow modestly about 2% per year, reaching about $7.1 billion in 2017.

The market no doubt benefits from the fact that oral care is a regular part of people's personal hygiene routine, but industry sources suggest that there's room for more robust growth, especially for those brands that further educate consumers on the link between general health and oral health.

A lack of proper oral hygiene can lead to such oral infections as gum disease and tooth decay and studies have found connections between oral health and many chronic conditions and diseases.

"The relationship between oral health and general health may be a selling point for marketers to leverage to drive further sales of oral care products and to encourage users to widen their product repertoires and care regimens." Mintel stated.

The opportunities to further educate consumers become increasingly evident when you look at the statistics.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about l-in-4 nonelderly adults have untreated tooth decay. The rate among low-income adults is twice that of adults with more income (41% versus 19%). Furthermore, in 2010, 22% of low-income adults had gone five years or more without a dental visit, or had never had a visit.

In addition to education, providing today's consumers with more for their money is also an attractive selling point. Shoppers have shown that they love products that offer multiple benefits, and this also is playing out within oral care.

Multipurpose toothpaste, especially one that promises to brighten one's smile as it cleans and protects, is the most popular form of toothpaste, and has led to the prevalence of whitening toothpastes and accompanying oral care products.

And the mouthwash segment is enjoying an uptick in sales as consumers increasingly look to add it to their daily oral care routine to help kill germs and bacteria, and freshen breath.

"Consumers also may be willing to trade up to more expensive products if companies and brands integrate benefits that consumers find valuable, such as toothpaste that repairs and rejuvenates teeth and gums" Mintel stated. "Added cosmetic benefits also will help drive sales as many consumers are concerned about the visual appearance of their teeth."

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