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Probiotic oral care likely to grow but needs more research - expert

By Simon Pitman , 17-Feb-2010

As Oragenics readies to distribute its probiotic oral care range with a mass market US retailer, a leading expert tips the category for significant growth.

“I’m quite sure that probiotic oral health care will be a significant force, especially as there is strong demand from consumers,” Professor Doctor Wim Teughels, from the Catholic University Leuven, in Belgium told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.

Professor Teughels is an expert in the area of probiotic oral care and led the study that culminated on the most comprehensive research paper in the area, entitled Probiotics and Oral Healthcare, which was published in the Periodontology 2000 journal back in 2008.

As the driving force behind growth in the oral care industry is innovation, Professor Teughels believes new products that can be scientifically proven to help improve oral health care are likely to be well received by consumers.

Probiotics oral care may open a very big door

“We are looking for new treatment possibilities and oral care probiotics might open a very big door in relation to new approaches,” said Professor Teughels.

“However, right now we are still very far from a significant [probiotic oral care] product on the market, because current studies only show very limited data and outcomes,” he added.

Earlier this week probiotic oral care made the leap into the mass market when Florida-based Oragenics announced that it is about to launch its EvoraPlus brand in 7,000 Walgreens nationwide.

A probiotic oral care mint

EvoraPlus is in fact a mint, which means it straddles the beauty from within, oral care and confectionery markets, but thanks to its patented Probiora3 ingredient, its manufacturer says it can promote both healthier gums and teeth as part of an oral care program.

While reaffirming his belief that more research needs to be carried out in the field of probiotic oral care, Professor Teughels says that the specific approach of developing Evora Plus around the streptococcus bacteria instead of the more commonly used lactobacillus or bifidobacteria probiotics could have potential.

“EvoraPlus is innovative because its maker has recognized that streptococci are the most dominant bacterial species in the oral cavity, therefore this might be the correct probiotic for oral health,” he said.

Niche means growth, but Colgate still dominates

Although the market for probiotic oral care is currently very small, it does fall amongst the handful of oral care niches that continue to provide growth in an industry that has otherwise remained stagnant in recent years.

Currently growth is also being led by natural-based products, whitening products and innovative breath fresheners.

But despite the growth in smaller players and niche categories, it is Colgate-Palmolive that remains by far the most dominant player in the global oral care market, with an estimated 2009 turnover in the region of €16bn.

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