Toothpaste GettyImages-1201830693

Brits have given oral care suppliers something to smile about. They’ve spent an extra £24.8m on toothpaste and toothbrushes in the past year. That’s a far cry from the £6.5m loss we reported last year – and more than enough to mitigate this year’s £14m decline in mouthwash sales.

The category’s overall gain of £10m is due in part to the end of pandemic travel restrictions, meaning travel-friendly packs shifted at a greater pace, explains NielsenIQ analyst Shreya Srivastava.

Indeed, toothbrush unit sales are up 6%. And toothpaste’s volume decline has slowed to 1.3%. Oral-B is the standout performer in both, shifting an extra three million units to become the fastest-growing top 10 brand.

Owner P&G is “proud of the way in which our oral care business has performed over the last year” says Ian Morley, VP of sales for the supplier’s northern Europe operation.

The only area to pose a challenge for Oral-B is mouthwash – a sector that declined when compared with the “increased focus on oral hygiene during Covid”, Srivastava explains. Plus, it’s likely shoppers have been “dropping it from their oral care repertoire as the cost of living crisis affects all households”, she adds.

By contrast, demand for core brushes and paste will hold because “90% of dental practices are unable to take on new adult NHS patients, making it difficult for many to get advice from dentists”, says Michael Durkin, oral care marketing lead at Haleon. So, it’s “important for retailers to help the nation to maintain healthy gums and strong teeth”.

And sustainable brands are best placed to benefit, suggests Srivastava, pointing to fast-growing challengers such as Ordo and Waken. The latter “offers eco-friendly, aesthetically pleasing products and includes natural extracts” – all very trendy.

Whitening is another “on-trend area” says Waken co-founder Simon Duffy. It’s why the brand added Whitening Toothpaste and Whitening Mouthwash this past year, both free from hydrogen peroxide, which can be unsafe at high levels.

It’s the kind of approach that should make shoppers grin from ear to ear.

Top Launch 2022

Aquafresh Naturals | Haleon


This is a grown-up move by kid-friendly Aquafresh: toothpaste made from 97% naturally derived ingredients, while promising to be just as good for teeth as traditional toothpaste. Unveiled in January in Herbal Fresh and Mint Clean (rsp: £1.50/75ml), the Naturals range is vegan and contains no synthetic sweeteners, flavours or preservatives. Designed to tap demand for eco-conscious products, it’s packed in a carton made with recycled materials, while its tube and cap are recyclable.

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