• Ujwal Arkalgud

Oral health and good bacteria? What will drive the trend?

Good bacteria is everywhere. Both scientifically speaking, and in terms of the trends that pervade the health business. This article is about the latter, and more specifically, about the results of an ethnographic study on the topic of good bacteria in oral health, conducted using MotivBase.


Over the course of a few hours, we studied the role of 'good bacteria' in oral health. We examined the organic meanings that consumers associate with the subject, and the natural ways in which they currently see the connection between the two topics (good bacteria and oral health).




Here's what we uncovered:

  • Good bacteria is ubiquitous with the idea of home and herbal remedies when it comes to oral health (in the mind of the consumer). However, because this is the case, it represents a very small market size currently - just 13 Million consumers interested in this in the United States.

  • However, the interest in natural and herbal remedies is growing significantly in the context of oral health (estimated at close to 200% in the next 2 years).

  • The problem however is that while herbal and natural remedies offer interesting growth opportunities, their market potential is small and less viable for the FMCG industry.

  • Enter 'canker sores'. Interestingly, an increasing number of consumers are also starting to realize that probiotics and other 'good bacteria' solutions can help them solve (and prevent) common oral health related ailments. Examining such ailments shows us that treating cankers is a common application that consumers are employing 'good bacteria' for.

  • More importantly, linking to the treatment of a common ailment not only expands the current market potential for a good-bacteria-related oral health solution, but also significantly expands future opportunities. It seems obvious in hindsight, but what MotivBase allows us to determine is exactly what that possible solution can be, such that it connects with the consumer's already established (or establishing) perceptions and ideas around the topic.

  • With this information in hand, we then explore the motivations behind wanting to use a good-bacteria-related oral health solution. We see that it connects to the idea of feeling in control over one's health (by distrusting what typical health and governmental institutions tell us about oral health). Which provides a blueprint for not just what to do and when, but also how.

This is the type of analysis that particularly excites us about our big data ethnography tool, MotivBase. It allows us to uncover tangible dimensions about the consumer's mental model around a topic almost instantly. Dimensions that can easily be turned into need states or opportunities for product development, even marketing. More importantly, for once, we have a way to look at these dimensions not just from a social sciences perspective, but also from a mathematical perspective to help us understand them better, and prioritize their value to the business.


Of course, there's a lot more to be discovered on the subject of 'good bacteria' and oral health. I'm only sharing a rather quick summary here. But do not worry - you can access the full report, right here.


Lastly, if you'd like to learn more about what MotivBase can do for you, or even commission a proof-of-concept, you can reach us here.

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