Designers brush up oral hygiene product launches

Designers are likely to benefit from a burst of new product developments set to launch in the oral hygiene market, as sales of floss, dental gum and whitening products soar.

Designers are likely to benefit from a burst of new product developments set to launch in the oral hygiene market, as sales of floss, dental gum and whitening products soar.

By 2010, the oral hygiene and toothbrush market will be worth £681m, an increase of 11 per cent over 2005, according to the latest report on the sector by Mintel.

A boom in dental-care extras, such as dental floss, gum and whitening products, will, in part, fuel this growth. UK sales in this product group have escalated in the past four years, increasing by 118 per cent from £17m in 2001 to £37m in 2005. Mintel predicts that sales are set to grow further, increasing by a substantial 86 per cent in the next four years to reach £69m. The sale of mouthwash products has also grown, by more than 16 per cent between 2001 and 2005 to reach £86m.

Good news for the design sector is that the report reveals a trend for new product development, as consumers increasingly demand dental products that have a cosmetic as well as a hygienic use. The cult of celebrity is driving forward product innovation and shifting the market, which is evolving into a whole new beauty sector, according to David Bird, senior market analyst at Mintel.

‘Many consumers will increasingly look beyond just brushing their teeth with standard toothpaste and spend more time and money on looking after their teeth and gums. Sales will be driven by mainstream products that deliver an enhanced consumer benefit, such as whitening and anti-bacterial toothpaste, or manual toothbrushes with bonus features, such as tongue scrapers. Consumers will also continue to trade up to more expensive, powered toothbrushes,’ says Bird.

GlaxoSmithKline is rolling out its latest premium whitening product, Aquafresh White & Shine, with a brand and pack identity by Slice Design. The product contains ‘micro-buffing’ particles, which GSK claims rid teeth of stains. The identity uses a holographic device to communicate the product’s added benefits. It features the recently revamped Aquafresh logo, also created by Slice Design.

‘This design moves away from the traditional pack look. We wanted to create a sense of shine and iridescent sheen. There is an element of the cosmetic that is being brought to oral care,’ says Alan Gilbody, creative director at Slice Design.

As part of the GSK design roster, the consultancy is working on a raft of other product development projects for GSK, but Gilbody declines to reveal details of the work.

At the same time, GSK rival Colgate-Palmolive is poised to launch its enhanced toothpaste, Colgate Time Control, which claims to combat the problem of receding gums. The brand and packaging has been designed by a consultancy on the Colgate-Palmolive design roster, but the company declines to name the consultancy. Colgate Time Control contains Vitamin E, which allegedly penetrates the gums and acts as an antioxidant to neutralise the free radicals associated with tissue damage.

With the growth predicted by Mintel in this sector of the market, the opportunities are ample for designers to create innovation and stand-out for the next generation of oral healthcare.

UK oral hygeine

• Sales of oral hygiene products and toothbrushes reach £616m in 2005

• Toothpaste accounts for about half of sales at £305m

• Dental extras, such as floss, dental gum and whitening products, are experiencing fastest-growing sales

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