The oral care space has been undergoing a transformation as more people are beginning to treat toothpaste and mouthwash as a beauty lifestyle product.
This is being driven by new independent brands and start-ups that are putting a novel spin on oral care, billing them as an extension of the beauty routine.
While the shift in how we think about oral care is exciting, dentist Dr Rob Wood has been concerned that such brands are neglecting the oral healthcare aspect of the products.
“From a dental point of view, I find it quite worrying that there are so many new oral health products coming on the market that are not really considering the oral health aspect,” said Wood.
For instance, he questioned the benefits of fluoride-free toothpaste, noting that fluoride is considered vital to protect our teeth from tooth decay.
“There's been a lot of scaremongering around fluoride. I worry that a lot of these beauty products are riding that wave. The trouble is that people aren't really educated about it. We stick by the Australian Dental Association recommendations… [Fluoride-free toothpaste] is a definite no-no in our world.”
Wood expressed that he was a “strong advocate” of mass-market toothpaste from brands like Colgate and Oral B. However, he understood that consumers are now looking for novel solutions.
“We get that people want a more attractive toothpaste, more environmental alternatives, but we want to make sure that people are aware that toothpaste is still a health product,” said Wood.
War on paste
In 2020, he debuted Dr Robb’s ToothChews, toothpaste tablets that are an environmentally friendly alternative to toothpaste.
“Toothpaste is 50% water, which is wasted water and usually dispensed in non-recyclable tubes. Through my research I saw that if you could supply toothpastes in solid form, you save on water and you can supply it in tins, jars, or even plastic-free bags,” said Wood.
Additionally, the company developed the tablets using all-natural vegan ingredients and does not test on animals.
According to Wood, the toothpaste tablets were developed to bridge the gap between what is acceptable from an oral healthcare and environment standpoint, without compromising on aesthetics.
So far, education has proven to be the toughest hurdle to conquer. To boost the awareness of the toothpaste tablets, the company will be launching two new kinds of toothpaste with 100% recyclable tubes next year.
“I know this goes against the water aspect, but part of the reason we are doing it is to attract people to our products. There is a huge educational aspect to ToothChews and we hope people can come to the brand and be introduced to them through toothpaste. We will be giving out free samples of the tablets when people buy the toothpaste, and hopefully, this can help them switch over,” said Wood.
A year after its launch, Wood told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the reception to the product has been “fantastic”. Not only are online sales going well, but repeat purchases rates are also healthy thanks to the brand’s subscription service.
The company has also been approached by several retailers in Australia including Flora and Fauna and Nourished Life.
Next year, will also also be launched in a new lifestyle and wellness store by a global retail group from Australia.
Furthermore, the company has received interest from companies in the travel and hospitality sector, where Wood believes the brand has huge potential because of its convenient, travel-friendly format.
Moving forward, the company is looking to expand overseas and will be targeting the wider Asia Pacific region.
“We’re already seeing the same thing happening in places like the UK and the US. For me as a dentist, it's not just about the product, but also the educational side of it and I feel great to be leading the way in this part of the world,” said Wood.