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How to increase oral-care sales

New products are giving shoppers more reasons to clean their teeth

Most Canadians believe oral health is important to their overall well-being, but a surprising 70 per cent don’t follow a dental hygiene regimen. Here’s how to drive consumers to your store’s oral-care aisle with tips that you can really sink your teeth into

Give the Gimmicks a try: One way to get kids excited about oral care is to make it fun. Brush Buddies’ singing toothbrushes, which play songs from mega-stars such as Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, have been proven to increase brushing time by 73 per cent. The company recently ran a worldwide music search via social media to pick its next artist.

For youngsters who hate to floss, Locin makes ergonomically designed and individually wrapped one-handed floss sticks that come in neon colours. If that’s not enough to convince a kid to improve their oral hygiene routine, each pack of floss sticks comes with a prize.

Fluo-ride the natural wave: Despite recommendations by dentists to the contrary, consumers are increasingly looking for fluoride-free products. With demand so high, the Big Carrot, a Toronto-based grocer, doesn’t even carry fluoride products on its shelves (although some are kept in the back if customers ask).

Meadow Rose, a buyer for the Big Carrot’s body-care department, says with so many innovative new oral-care products, people don’t need to go the traditional fluoride route. The grocer recently started carrying a line called Theodent, which uses a proprietary chocolate extract that helps strengthen tooth enamel.

Rose says toothbrushes with natural bristles, replaceable heads and recycled handles are also popular. But with all the variety, employees need to be well versed on the options, she emphasizes. “You don’t want staff having to lift the boxes to read the ingredients when people have questions.”

Go soft or go home: Soft brushes are a must to keep teeth healthy, says Dr. Benoit Soucy, director of clinical and scientific affairs at the Canadian Dental Association.

“Plaque has the consistency of flour and can be removed effectively with even the soften toothbrush,” he says. “Hard ones can wear out the enamel and lead to major problems down the line.”

In fact, the CDA will only put its seal of approval on toothbrushes that are soft. But Dr. Soucy says shoppers often don’t know that soft brushes are better.

Flash that smile: Teeth whitening isn’t just for weddings and holiday parties anymore. Thanks to Facebook and Instagram, every occasion (no matter how minor) is a photo opportunity.

Customers want to feel confident flashing their pearly whites any day of the week, notes Victoria Maybee, communications manager for P&G. Crest and Oral-B’s Great Canadian Smile Survey, released in January, found that 86 per cent of Canadians would like their teeth to be whiter.

The latest 3D White line from Crest (rinse, toothbrush and toothpaste), promises a whiter smile in only two days. Alternatively, the brand’s Intensive Professional Effects white- strips boast results comparable to a $500 professional whitening treatment.

Aquafresh also has a line of whitening toothpastes with microfine whitening crystals, as well as its Extreme Clean White Trays, which are pre-filled to ensure proper dosing.

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