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Pearly whites: Q&A with GSK Consumer Healthcare's Cameron Poluszek


Drug Store News caught up with Cameron Poluszek, marketing director of oral health at GSK Consumer Healthcare, to discuss current trends in oral care.

DSN: Can you discuss the current trends in oral care? Are consumers looking for whitening, cavity protection or items that do all and more?

Cameron Poluszek: According to the latest Mintel Oral Care Report, Oral Hygiene Global Annual Review 2016, the oral hygiene market continues to focus heavily on whitening products, as this is one of the leading concerns among consumers in both developed and emerging countries. We continue to see the whitening category as an opportunity for the Sensodyne brand. The launch of Sensodyne True White this year, provided consumers with sensitive teeth a solution for both sensitivity relief and a whitening option from a toothpaste.

Daily whitening toothpastes can help remove “extrinsic staining,” which is the technical term for stains on the outside of your teeth caused by coffee, tea and smoking. What you may not know is that most whitening toothpastes contain abrasive particles that work to remove extrinsic stains by scrubbing them off the surface of the tooth, revealing the unstained layer below. This scrubbing can actually increase tooth sensitivity, especially noticeable for people who already have sensitive teeth.

DSN: How many consumers have sensitive teeth? What can they do to correct the issue?

Poluszek: Sensitive teeth may affect as many as 1-in-3 people, even young adults. Dentin hypersensitivity, or tooth sensitivity, is a condition that can develop over time as a result of common problems, such as receding gums and enamel wear. Tooth sensitivity can start to happen when the softer, inner part of the tooth, called dentin, becomes exposed.

Once the dentin is exposed, external triggers, such as a cold drink, can stimulate the nerves inside the tooth, resulting in the characteristic short, sharp pain of tooth sensitivity. People with dentin hypersensitivity can help to minimize further exposure of the dentin, care for their sensitive teeth and relieve the painful symptoms by making some simple changes to their daily oral care routine and dietary habits.

DSN: Is there something retailers can do to improve oral care sales?

Poluszek: Oral care category growth is being driven by specialist products, which are developed to address certain needs. As consumers become more aware and educated about their oral health, they look for products that help them treat or manage a condition while helping provide good overall oral health.

DSN:  Is any social media coming into play to promote oral care, Sensodyne?

Poluszek: Digital, in general, is becoming more important. Consumers look to learn about oral health conditions and products not just from TV commercials or product websites. Consumers look to their peers, influencers and other trusted sources for information, and such digital channels as social are becoming increasingly important.

DSN:  Any new programs or products on the horizon?

Poluszek: Given the elevated consumer interest with teeth whitening products, we will continue to support our most recent launch in the portfolio, Sensodyne True White toothpaste. This toothpaste combines the sensitivity relief that you need while giving you the whiter teeth that you want.

DSN: How important are recommendations of professionals?

Poluszek: Healthcare professionals play an important role in not only providing recommendations for products, but also behavior changes that lead to improved health.

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