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Church, Dwight, Arm & Hammer
This story by Barbara Fox was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on December 16, 1998. All rights reserved.
The new kid on the block, Enamelon, is in the process of applying for the American Dental Association seal of acceptance, but Church and Dwight, established in 1846, does not intend even to apply.
"We have chosen not to use the ADA seal," says Jim Daniels, category manager of oral care for the older firm, headquartered on North Harrison Street. Use of the ADA seal as a marketing tool requires a company to notify the ADA when any packaging or advertising change is made, he points out. "We market products that meet FDA standards for performance, so we don't feel the need to secure additional reinforcement."
The other reason why Church & Dwight doesn't go to the trouble and expense of going after the ADA seal is this: Even though Church & Dwight has been making toothpaste for just 10 years, it has been in business for 150 years and has an undefiled reputation. Church & Dwight believes it doesn't need the ADA seal; it has the familiar brawny arm and hammer.
"Many times the ADA logo conveys to the consumers such attributes as dependability," says Daniels, "but we have spent more than 100 years developing trust in our consumer base, and our Arm & Hammer logo conveys that sense of straightforward honesty."
Other contrasts can be drawn between the two toothpaste makers. Two of the Enamelon officers, Anthony E. Winston and Norman Usen, used to be scientists at Church & Dwight (see main story). Enamelon is working with just-developed technology, whereas Church & Dwight started 10 years ago to take a traditional ingredient and put it in modern forms.
This year it launched the Arm & Hammer dental care gum. "It is the first major therapeutic gum in the U.S.," says Daniels. Aqua Fresh is marketing a gum in Europe.
Both Enamelon and Church & Dwight will have an unusually difficult struggle to gain market share. At one point in 1993 Arm & Hammer toothpaste enjoyed a 10 percent market share, but it has dropped to 5.8 percent of the market's dollar value for the current year to date.
"The erosion of our dollar share is based on a number of issues," says Daniels. "There is a plethora of products. The patents came off in 1993, and probably one-fourth of all toothpastes sold have baking soda in them. But if you look at the formulation differences, we have significant levels (55 to 65 percent) of baking soda. Many of our competitors have what we consider to be low to insignificant levels of baking soda, two to five percent. They are very different products."
Enamelon's CEO says that nobody has proven baking soda makes teeth whiter, yet its own clinical studies are not yet complete.
Church & Dwight does claim clinical proof. "When we make a claim we have at least two strong studies," says Regina Miskewitz, director of oral care R&D. An alumna of St. Peter's College with a master's degree in cosmetic science from Long Island University, she has worked for Church & Dwight, American Cyanamid, and Helene Curtis, before returning to North Harrison Street.
"We have never made an anti caries claim for our baking soda," she points out. Fighting cavities is fluoride's work. What baking soda does is make teeth whiter. "We spent quite a bit of money researching the benefits of baking soda. It helps whiten, and it removes plaque. It neutralizes the acidic plaque that grows on the tooth. Baking soda helps loosen the plaque and helps clean it away. It is very safe, very gentle."
Experimental work was done with an electron scanning microscope. "We found that baking soda not only removes surface plaque and surface stain but also gets into the crevices," says Miskewitz. "Baking soda is water soluble and is a small enough particle that it gets into the little crevices." She expects this study to be printed in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, a peer-reviewed journal, in the first quarter of next year.
Daniels, an alumnus of Gordon College and Columbia University, is overseeing an exciting product launch. This Wednesday, December 16, the company is making its first shipments of Arm & Hammer "Advance White," a toothpaste that promises to whiten your teeth. This product was not scheduled to be shipped until January but major retailers begged (yes, begged, the company claims) to get it in time for the Christmas stocking trade.
"It leverages the whitening equity of baking soda," says Daniels. "Every package has a shade guide. The consumer can measure the color of the tooth, use the product for one tube, and measure the performance of our product."
"Whitening toothpastes have gotten very very popular. Cavity prevention has been secured, and consumers are trading up to higher cosmetic benefits," says Daniels, referring to the $22 billion spent annually on cosmetic dentistry. "The whitening toothpastes that are out there are not delivering the benefits they have promised. But we are providing the shade guide to actually prove it."
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