• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Choosing your dental products with care


Walking through the cosmetics section of most malls is almost intimidating, especially when your target purchase is one of the many dental products that we are plagued with. Except you are a brand loyalist, most times, you are confused from the different varieties to choose from.

There are numerous dental care products available, all with catchy adverts, seeking our attention and patronage. If your purpose is to try something new, then you will surely be in a fix, deciding which one to pick up. But if you are one of those who visit the dentist on a regular basis, the task will be much easier, as you can ask or seek the opinion of your dentist.

Back in the olden days, Nigerians, mostly those in the rural areas, used chewing sticks derived from medicinal plants to clean their teeth on a daily basis and it worked for them. Till date there are some individuals who still prefer this mode of dental care when compared to the western way of cleaning with toothpaste and brush.

In the past, chewing stick, charcoal, caustic-ash and toothpaste in squeezable tubes, were considered effective teeth cleaners that could do the job efficiently. These products were used for a long period and lasted until manufacturers, with aggressive adverts and campaigns changed the behaviour of the average Nigerian consumer to prefer and patronize their products. Little wonder youths regard the use of traditional tooth cleaners as old-fashioned.

Toothpaste (also known as dentifrice) is produced in various forms such as gels, powder, paste, cream and many more. Brushing with toothpaste is said to be essential to your daily oral hygiene routine as it helps in removal of plaque, which is a film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums.

Hence, it is advisable to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, because research has shown that such toothpaste helps prevent cavities.

Nigeria is one of Africa’s most populous countries, thus suggesting a sizeable market that should attract attention of consumer goods producers, marketers and researchers. Lots of competitive activities among domestic players occurred with foreign brands becoming less significant in the market. There has been variety of new product development over the review period, up to the end of 2011.

Manufacturers intensified advertising of their new brands with herbal toothpaste(s) becoming more prevalent. These moves, industry players believe, were aimed at trying to offer a clear market brand from others.

Major toothpaste brands, which have very visible shelf presence in Nigeria, include Close-Up, manufactured by Unilever; Macleans produced by GlaxoSmithKline; Dabur, a herbal toothpaste made by Dabur International Limited; Daily Need from Daily Need Industries, and Colgate, an imported brand.

Others include Acquafresh, from GlaxoSmithKline; Flourish and Minta, produced by PZ; Whisper, an imported brand from Asia; Olive on the stable of Classic Soap Industries Ltd, and MyMy from the stable of Deraju Industries Ltd. Latest brands to enter the market are Sensodyne, also from GSK, and the re-entry of Pepsodent from Unilever.

Competitive landscape

In 2012, the leading company in oral care was Unilever Nigeria plc, with a value share of 33 percent. Its Close-Up toothpaste is the leading brand in the category, with a longstanding presence in the market that has given it high brand awareness among consumers.

According to Euromonitor International, it benefited from a brief absence of the Macleans brand, which was previously the market leader, building market share over this period before Macleans could return.

In addition to the toothpaste brand, the company’s Close-Up brand is also present in toothbrushes, unlike its nearest competitor GSK Nigeria plc. The Close-Up brand benefits from a wide range of variants and is supported by very strong advertising by Unilever. It also has national penetration as it is distributed through Unilever’s distribution network and by independent distributors.

If you are not sure of what features to look out for or the best bristle head design for cleaning your teeth’s unique contours and alignment, then ask your dentist for assistance.

Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months or earlier if the bristles begin to look worn out (bristles that spread or fan out is a sure and obvious sign that a new toothbrush is needed).

Anne Agbaje