The company says that the patent-pending formula is a major breakthrough for the natural oral care sector and will be incorporated into its new Natural Clean & Gentle Care and Natural Sensitive Care toothpastes. "The Tom's research team has discovered that the natural ingredient glycyrrhizin, from purified licorice root, creates a natural foaming experience for dispersing ingredients in the mouth," said Tom Chappell co-founder and CEO of Tom's of Maine. "Glycyrrhizin needs no additional processing and is gentle on gums - good news for those who prefer to brush gently," he added. Formulation includes a range of natural extracts The formulation also includes xylitol, an extract of birch trees or corn, as well as glycerin and organic aloe - ingredients that are all known to impart soothing properties to gums and teeth. Likewise, the new toothpastes are also marketed as being eco-friendly, thanks mainly to the fact that the packaging used for the products is made from recyclable materials and that green manufacturing principles have recently led to the incorporation of wind energy to power the company's manufacturing facility. Tom's of Maine has sprung from a small family-run business to become a leading name in the oral care market in North America. It is a pioneer of natural toothpaste, mouthwash, and deodorant, and currently claims to be the number one Oral Care Brand in the natural category. Tom's of Maine built success on naturals trend Its success has been put down to its natural-based formulations, which tap into the huge trend for personal care products that avoid harsh chemicals. In 2006 the market for natural-based personal care products in the US was estimated to be worth $3bn and was growing at the rate of 15 per cent per annum. Tapping into this sort of growth, the world's largest oral care player Colgate-Palmolive bought the company in May 2006, in a move that serves Tom's aim to focus on higher-margin markets. Tom's of Maine was founded in 1970 by Tom and Kate Chappell and the buy-out meant that the family retains a 16 per cent share in the business.