We all know the basics of a good oral hygiene routine. You brush your teeth for two minutes each time, you floss, and you can add a cleansing swish or tongue scraping for a plus. But when it comes to selecting the best products to use, consumers encounter endless options from brands old and new making all sorts of promises.

Increasingly, though, what consumers want is more natural, holistic approaches to their dental care buying. In a global survey conducted by AlixPartners, 72% of all respondents, regardless of age, said it was important to purchase healthy or clean personal care products. Millennials especially favor personal care items made with natural ingredients, the survey found. The analysts explained: "These buyers want beauty and personal care products with natural or organic ingredients that are sourced and manufactured following ethical and environmental standards. Consumers, across generations and countries, are increasingly focused on these issues, but demand from millennials is keenest.”

From eco-friendly toothbrushes to product lines that are focused on limiting harmful chemicals, brands are delivering with formulations that help meet these shifting consumer preferences. As your consumers navigate the oral care section, point them toward these science-backed natural ingredients to help brighten their smile naturally. (Learn more in Caring for the Oral Microbiome.) 


Xylitol: This natural sweetener can be found in gum, toothpaste, and mints, and gives the mouth a crisp, clean feeling. Xylitol is widely used as a sugar alternative and has been shown to reduce gingival inflammation and deliver significant anti-plaque effects. "Unlike traditional sugars, xylitol does not contribute to cavities; instead, it inhibits the growth of acid-producing bacteria responsible for tooth decay," says dental hygienist Julie Seager, Western Regional Education Manager, Xlear. "Incorporating xylitol into holiday treats and snacks becomes a sweet solution to promote oral health naturally." In Keeping Smiles Bright: Holiday Dental Care for the Entire Family, she explains that xylitol plays a role in cavity prevention (by disrupting the growth of a bacteria responsible for tooth decay), stimulates saliva production (neutralizing acids in the mouth, supporting a balanced pH level, and helping to prevent enamel erosion), reduces plaque formation, and reduces gingivitis.

Plus, your customers will be happy to know the health benefits of xylitol are not limited to oral hygiene, as researchers report in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology: "Xylitol efficiently stimulates the immune system, digestion, lipid and bone metabolism." 

Activated Charcoal

How is something that turns things black supposed to help make teeth whiter and brighter? The power lies in its abrasive and absorbent properties. Use of activated charcoal powder helps reduce the appearance of surface level stains. This stain remover can be found in almost everything related to oral hygiene, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, and mouthwash. 

"Activated charcoal helps whiten teeth while promoting good oral health," says Dr. Josh Axe in Top Activated Charcoal Uses & Benefits, Plus Potential Side Effects. "It does this by changing the pH balance in the mouth, thereby helping prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease. It also works to whiten your teeth by absorbing plaque and microscopic tidbits that stain teeth. This activated charcoal use is cost-effective and an all-natural solution for a bright smile."


Though some customers may only think of probiotics when looking for ways to help support gut health, beneficial bacteria are gaining ground in the oral health space. Targeted bacteria that can assist with fighting off gum disease, tooth decay, bad breath, and can also support overall health (such as the oral probiotic BLIS M18 (S. salivarius M18), which has been shown to promote dental health among various age groups).

“There’s 700 different species of bacteria that live in these oral subhabitats: the teeth, the tongue, gums, saliva, ear, nose, and throat,” explained Bonnie Feldman, DDS, MBA, in the presentation “Oral Health and Microbiome” at the Naturally Informed virtual event Nutri-Beauty: Mastering the Market, available on-demand at NaturallyInformed.net.  Like the gut, Dr. Feldman added, “what happens in the mouth, does not stay in the mouth. 47.2% of American adults have gum disease, and adults over the age of 70 with gum disease are 70% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. People with gum disease are also more likely to have heart disease and to have a higher risk of stroke; periodontal disease may also be associated with autoimmune diseases.”