Sales of whitening products remain bright

Americans are seeking a brighter smile, and research and sales data suggest that they are increasingly turning to whitening toothpastes and even mouthwash to help whiten teeth.

According to research released from Mintel in August 2012, only 10% of those looking for brighter smiles took a seat in the dentist chair for a professional whitening service. What's interesting is that according to the findings, 41% of respondents said they had tried to whiten their teeth in the prior 12 months using toothpaste, while 17% had tried at-home mouthwash and 15% tried OTC whitening strips.

These findings are reflected in the sales data. According to SymphonyIRI Group, sales of toothpaste for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 30 at total U.S. multi-outlets rose more than 2%. The biggest gainer, according to the data, was Colgate Optic White, which experienced a 226% boost in sales.

During Colgate's third-quarter conference call in late October, management told analysts that the launch of Colgate Optic White enamel toothpaste in the United States has helped to increase the share of the Colgate Optic White franchise with a share of more than 6%. There also is the new Colgate Optic White mouthwash — which complements the toothpaste and toothbrush for a full whitening regimen — which had more than a 2% share as of the third quarter.

Another example is Procter & Gamble, which is enjoying the success of its Crest 3D White toothpaste.

"3D White toothpaste has now delivered market share growth in the United States every month since its introduction more than two-and-a-half years ago. We are expanding the 3D White line, which includes toothpaste, brush, rinse, floss and whitestrips, around the world to continue building out our full oral care portfolio," Procter & Gamble's CFO, Jon Moeller, told analysts during the company's second-quarter conference call on Jan. 25.

He noted that the company recently launched its new Oral-B Deep Sweep power brush, which cleans like a power brush and moves like a manual brush to remove more than two times the plaque of a regular manual toothbrush.

To celebrate its Crest 3D White Arctic Fresh MultiCare Whitening Rinse, Oral-B 3D White Vivid Toothbrush and the new Crest 3D White Arctic Fresh Toothpaste, P&G recently teamed up with Cat Deeley of Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" for a Facebook contest. The winner will have a chance to join Deeley at the Young Hollywood Awards in Los Angeles.

The new Crest 3D White Arctic Fresh Toothpaste promises to whiten teeth by removing up to 80% of surface stains and features a patented dual silica system that optimizes surface stain removal.