April 28, 2021
Although once upon a time, going to the dentists was routine at best, now your local dental practice is on the way to becoming something of a destination, The Guardian reports.
At the same time, previously lackluster dental products—such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouthwas—are more likely to be deemed worthy of a bathroom shelfie posted to Instagram. Indeed, teeth and the right products and treatments for them, are now part of the self-care beauty boom.
There’s even been a rebranding of the sector. The dental aisle in your local chemist could soon be renamed “oralcare”. A recent article in Business of Fashion used this term and estimated that U.S. consumers spent $9 billion on oralcare in 2020.
Colgate also has seen a gap in the market. It launched CO.Colgate in the United States—a division that offers a range of products designed to appeal to a younger, fashionable consumer, without any familiar red and white logo. Instead, branding is close to that of cult beauty brand Glossier. Included in the range is a teeth whitening pen called It’s Lit.
While some might balk at the idea of $55 for toothpaste—and even £9.95 (US$14) for Moon toothpaste is triple the price of most on the market—it means young people can enter this aspirational new beauty world.
Along with shelfie-worthy packaging, they might be swayed by the growing niche of dentists turned dental influencers with large followings on Instagram, and videos on TikTok with people testing out blue-light products to whiten teeth. There are more than 680k videos on the app tagged #teethwhiteningchallenge.
The increasing interest in oralcare can be traced back to the rise of Zoom in the pandemic. “Zoom has been amazing for our industry,” Dr Uchenna Okoye tells The Guardian. “People are staring at themselves and they see angles, like the side view of their face, what other people see of them.”
Cosmetic dentistry, which can cost thousands of dollars, is part of a wider aspiration towards a polished appearance. Okoye sees it alongside the rise of “tweakments” like Botox.
According to Okoye, the most unlikely dental treatments—braces—are becoming status symbols. She points to the tracks of Invisalign, the premium braces brand with transparent, gumshield-like aligners: “Everyone showed off their Chanel [handbag], they’re now showing their Invisalign.”
Research contact: @guardian