Forget Hollywood smiles. Today it’s all about the Brentwood smile: the bleached white teeth popularised by the cast of TOWIE, Brentwood’s top topless model-cum-vegan bodybuilder Jodie Marsh, and X-Factor runner up Rylan, born just down the road in Stanford-le-Hope. 

Not everyone wants a rictus as radiant as Rylan’s, of course, but white is clearly in. “A white smile is no longer only for celebs, it’s a sign of health,” says P&G sales director Ian Morley. “Oral health is increasingly looked at through a beauty lens. Shoppers want to invest in the right products to protect them.”

That’s why oral care is outperforming the wider personal care & toiletries category, down 2.1% to £5.8bn on volumes down 1.2% [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 17 July 2016]. Toothbrush sales have surged 8.6% on volumes up 6.2%, thanks chiefly to the growing popularity of electric devices. Mouthwash is up 1.2% on volumes up 1.6%. Toothpaste may have dipped 0.2% on volumes down 0.7% but, crucially, average prices are up in defiance of the deflation in the wider category. 

So how much of oral care’s growth is down to the Essex effect? What can other parts of the personal care category learn from this sector? And what other fashion trends are impacting personal care sales performances?