Brits say white smile more important than hygiene

Once it was all about cavities and receding gums, but today’s consumers are looking for a whiter than white smile in the quest for an ever youthful look.

“Today many people regard their smile as something that can be fixed cosmetically and not through oral hygiene. The fact that more people are concerned about the colour of their teeth than real health issues such as cavities and gum rescission is a worry. There is a real danger that this could result in people neglecting genuine health issues such as tongue and gum health,” comments Alexandra Richmond, senior health & beauty analyst at Mintel.

“The boundaries between health and beauty are increasingly blurred and this is leading to confusion among consumers. Just as many young people will associate a tan with good health, a bright white smile is being associated with good oral hygiene,” adds Alexandra Richmond.

And the desire for white teeth is not just the preserve of the young. While half of Brits (47%) aged 16-24 say they are concerned about the colour of their teeth as many as a third (33%) of 55-64 year olds also admit to being concerned about this issue.

“Alongside wrinkles, teeth are another key indicator of age. Agelessness is one of the major social issues that has been gathering pace over the past decade. Whilst kids are getting older younger, older adults are refusing to accept their age,” says Alexandra Richmond.

Blinding sales for teeth whitening product

The market for whitening products is thriving as celebrities such as Katie Price and Simon Cowell help drive the desire for pearly whites. Over the last 2 years alone, sales of whitening toothpaste have increased by a dazzling 15% rising from £55 million in 2006 to £63 million in 2008, accounting for 22% of sales in the toothpaste sector. Meanwhile, dental ancillaries, that include teeth whitening kits have enjoyed growth of 13% over the same period.

“While laser whitening or tray bleaching are professional treatments that require commitment and a deep purse, sales of whitening toothpastes are thriving, appealing to those who want whiter teeth but cannot afford to spend the money on having their teeth professionally whitened. With budgets becoming tighter, non-professional treatments are set to benefit from even greater sales,” adds Alexandra Richmond.

Picture caption: Brits want to be whiter than white in the quest for a youthful look.