May 18, 2022

go health

Mintel: Nearly 3 In 10 British Millennials Put Off Visiting The Dentist In The Past Year

Last year’s lockdown on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic forced the indefinite closures of many nonessential businesses. While many essential businesses such as doctors’ and dentists’ offices remained open, nearly three in 10 British Millennials skipped visits to the dentist, taking their oral health into their own hands. 


An Oral Care UK report by Mintel – a leading market intelligence agency of nearly 50 years – assessed data from 2,000 internet users ages 16 and older in April 2021. The study found that almost three in 10 (28%) of Millennials aged 25 to 40 and nearly a quarter of all Brits (22%) put off visiting the dentist in the last year. 


It wasn’t a poor financial situation or lack of desire, but challenging appointment availability and fears of catching Covid-19 that were the main deterrents among Millennials. 


“For many, fear of catching COVID-19 made a visit to the dentist even less appealing than usual, forcing consumers to look for ways to take their oral health into their own hands at home,” said Mintel’s Research Analyst Emilia Greenslade. 


Mintel found that 36% of Millennials had issues gaining access to a dentist compared to an average of 30% of the British population.  


As a result, mouthwash sales spiked 9% in 2020 equating to a hike of $218.8 million in 2019 to $239.3 million in 2020.  


It was determined that the donning of personal protective equipment such as surgical masks, which cover the mouth and nose, evinced bad breath. As a result, 42% of adults agree that wearing a mask, though uncomfortable, made them more cognizant of when it’s time to pop a mint. 


“Hygiene concerns resulting from the pandemic drove an interest in mouthwash due to its antibacterial properties, as well as fresh breath concerns linked to extended mask wearing, also known as ‘mask mouth,’” noted Greenslade.


Appointment availability wasn’t the case for 16-24-year-olds. Mintel found that oral care wasn’t a priority for 22% of Gen Zers who said they felt less motivated to care for their teeth since the start of the pandemic compared with 12% of Brits. 


“Lower general motivation and increased cost concerns are likely to have put off younger Brits, in particular, from visiting their dentists, as well as taking the focus off their appearance,” said Greenslade.


According to the study, 13% of the younger generation said they cared less about the appearance of their teeth over the past year. 



More than one in 10 (11%) of 16-24-year-olds, however, used teeth-whitening kits this year, up from 7% in that age group the previous year. However, overall consumer usage of whitening strips/kits remains low at just 5%. One in five or 20% of Brits are interested in having teeth whitening done by a professional.


In 2020, the oral hygiene market saw a slight dip in sales of 4%, or $1.34 billion from $1.36 billion the previous year.


“As consumers adapt to limited access to dental professionals during the pandemic, self-treatment trends will grow, presenting opportunities for brands to step up with expert advice via virtual consultations, as well as educating consumers on bristle type and toothbrush replacement frequency,” said Greenslade.


Nearly a quarter (22%) of Brits overall admit their oral health is a concern.


“With social distancing restrictions easing, our research shows that consumers will look to professionals for teeth whitening,” she said. “However, there is a lot of opportunity for oral care brands to engage in the teeth whitening space by way of top-up products for the time between treatments, complementary products to purchase through whitening services, or instant teeth-whitening pens designed specifically for video calls, for example.”