The U.S. professional oral care market grew 5.1% over the last three years to reach $426.5 million in 2013, according to Kline & Company's Professional Oral Care USA market report.
According to the report, caries (tooth decay) remain the leading therapeutic indication within the professional oral care market in 2013, claiming sales of over 43% of the total U.S. market due to sales gains of fluoride varnishes. Fluoride varnishes are preferred over other topical fluoride therapy treatments such as gels and foams due to their ease of application, efficacy and safety. Contributing to the popularity of fluoride varnishes has been the addition of amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP), allowing a greater fluoride uptake to the tooth.
However, this market dominance is being slowly eroded by the rapidly growing whitening therapeutic indication, with sales estimated at over $117 million at the manufacturers’ level in 2013, reflecting a CAGR of 10.5% from 2010. Encouraged by convenience, cost advantage, and technological advances, take-home whitening treatments dispensed through dentists’ offices have been gaining popularity over in-office treatments.
“With newer whitening treatment formulations having built-in desensitizing ingredients, one of the biggest disadvantages of take-home whitening alternatives has been addressed. However, the increased sales of advanced whitening treatments containing desensitizers have had a detrimental effect on sales of sensitivity products given that consumers no longer need to purchase additional sensitivity products,” noted Laura Mahecha, Kline’s Healthcare industry manager. Despite this challenge, manufacturers’ sales of anti tooth-sensitivity products have seen a CAGR of 3.4% over the last three years.
Other significant trends observed include the introduction of periodontal products targeting pediatric patients. With a view to fostering good oral hygiene habits early, companies such as Procter & Gamble are offering products catering to specific age groups/development ages of children including Oral-B Pro-Health Stages 4-24 Months Toothbrush, Oral-B Pro-Health Stages 2-4 Years Toothbrush, and Oral-B Pro-Health 5-7 Years Toothbrush.
Given Kline’s findings on the high importance of brand loyalty, this early engagement is a worthy long-term strategy. Kline’s research has found that consumers tend to purchase brands that they have used since childhood; moreover, they are likely to pass on their habits to the next generation. Conversely, dental professionals will often recommend oral care products based on their active ingredients rather than specific brands. An estimated 60% of total U.S. professional oral care market sales in 2013 is claimed by the top five marketers, with Colgate-Palmolive leading with 14.6% market share, followed closely by 3M and Philips.
Kline’s comprehensive report also analyzes unmet needs and new technologies of interest as expressed by dental professionals. These include air flossers, better plaque removal methods, calcium augmenting products with low antibiotic content, and oral cancer detection products.