How it all began

 When you think of toothpaste flavors, you automatically think of the intense flavor of mint, right? However, this wasn’t the case 5,000 years ago, when people first started using a form of toothpaste and getting creative with it. The first experimental toothpaste contained charcoal, oyster shells, crushed bones, bark, volcanic rocks and more and was used by ancient Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Chinese. We have ancient Egyptians to thank for thinking of using mint in their toothpaste. According to historical records, the Pharaohs and the wealthy class of ancient Egypt were particularly attentive to their oral health, so they experimented with a paste made of a mixture of herbs, dried flowers, and spices. Ever since mint was the king of fighting bad breath and it rightfully dominated the oral care sector.


Why mint though?

Mint has been known for its medicinal properties and its scent since ancient times. For example, ancient Greeks primarily used it as a room freshener and consumed it to cure digestion issues. Later in the Medieval times, mint leaves became more popular as a breath freshener to fight halitosis, alongside other fragrant herbs and spices such as parsley, cinnamon, sage, clove, cardamom and rosemary.

 In the late 19th century, mint found its way to the modern toothpaste, and it has been an essential ingredient ever since thanks to its strong flavor. People have associated it with clean and fresh breath so it became the go-to oral care product worldwide, representing nowadays a multi-billion dollar industry.

 New flavors of toothpaste on the horizon

While minty toothpastes and other dental care products, in general, hold the biggest market share, it doesn’t mean that it’s everyone’s first choice, mainly for young children. It is very typical for a kid to resist teeth brushing, mostly because they find it tedious and the mint flavor can be too intense or spicy for them. Therefore, milder flavors such as bubblegum, orange mango, watermelon, apple, blueberry, Tutti Frutti, and more are beloved and in high demand among younger consumers.

 The need for a variety of flavors led companies to get innovative and offer a lot of bizarre and unexpected toothpaste flavors. One flavor that became a quick success among kids was the mint chocolate flavor, introduced a few years ago. The marketing strategy for such a product depended on entirely different purposes, selling an experience rather than a science-based oral care product. What followed after the launch of chocolate-flavored toothpaste was an array of bizarre flavor options such as whiskey, cookies, licorice, coffee, bacon, curry, honey, cupcake, coke, and even champagne!


Latest Trends

According to statistics, the global market for toothpaste and other dental care products has benefited quite a lot from the pandemic and is estimated to reach 22 billion US Dollars in revenue by 2027. The annual growth rate of the global population, the increasing awareness regarding oral health and proper hygiene, and the entrance of new and natural toothpaste flavors and formulas at reasonable costs are three of the main factors which shape consumer trends.

The global interest in sustainable and biodegradable packaging materials and vegan and natural ingredients in dental care products is growing at a rate that companies cannot ignore. It created a significant opportunity for brands in the industry to offer organic toothpastes whose active ingredients consist of eucalyptus oil, aloe vera, myrrh, and other plant extracts and target health-conscious consumers.


New category takes over?

 A more “natural-sounding” and botanical flavor is increasingly more appealing to consumers, especially considering the long list of incomprehensible and straight out of a lab label mainstream brands use.

Evidently, many existing companies hopped on the trend and a lot more new ones recently emerged to satisfy this niche. Each company capitalized on a unique feature and took notice of the environmental impact in order to beat the competition.

If you were to Google “natural toothpaste” right now, you would get too many results, with slightly differentiated descriptions. So, how would you possibly know which one delivers what it claims? Keep in mind that a lot more money is spent now towards marketing a product rather than funding the actual science behind it.

While both established and upcoming companies get behind the trendy cosmetic “oral care” movement, being supported by beauty and wellness influencers, the focus remains on the attractive packaging and buzz on social media, to justify the premium price that is at least 5-10 times higher than the usual.

 Therefore, the responsibility lies on all of us to be well-rounded regarding the hygiene products we use every day. Our lifestyle choices can have a major impact on our overall well being so we need to act accordingly.