Black family of mother and children  brushes teeth together and practices proper oral care.
Black family of mother and children  brushes teeth together and practices proper oral care.

Colgate is committed to leveraging clinical research, collaborating with partners and developing innovative products and technology to achieve a zero-cavity, healthier future for all.

By Pat Verduin, Chief Technology Officer at Colgate-Palmolive

September 2021

From a young age, people around the world hear how important it is to wash their hands regularly, eat their fruits and vegetables and exercise to stay healthy. But one thing is often left out of the equation - the importance of good oral hygiene. The impact of this omission is substantial: nearly half of the world’s population suffers from oral disease.

At Colgate, we believe it is our responsibility to address the oral health crisis and empower everyone to have a healthy, cavity-free future. And as the leading global oral care company with the Colgate brand in nearly 7 out of 10 homes around the world, we have the opportunity to make that vision a reality with breakthrough research and innovative new products.

Oral Disease: A Global Health Crisis

Despite recent advancements in oral care products and technologies, cavities remain the most common chronic disease among young people, affecting more than 45 percent of people aged 6 to 19. In addition to the pain, discoloration, and eventual tooth loss caused by untreated decay and infection, cavities can also have significant social, mental, and emotional impacts. In fact, according to research Colgate conducted across 12 countries, one-third of children feel worried and embarrassed when they experience a cavity, leading to lower self-esteem and confidence. Beyond individual impacts, our communities suffer when children miss school or when parents take time off work for their kids’ dental treatment.

The pandemic has only exacerbated this persistent health crisis, making regular dental checkups and twice-daily brushing and flossing even more challenging. We already have a great way to prevent cavities: a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Still, cavities are the world’s most prevalent disease. What more can we do?

Accelerating Oral Health Through Research

Research increasingly shows that keeping teeth and gums healthy helps reduce inflammation, control diabetes biomarkers and can even help people resist infections. At Colgate, we are eager to build on these findings with our own clinical research to advance our understanding of the link between oral and overall health.

Our most recently launched clinical study is being conducted in partnership with Alphabet-owned Verily. It will help us learn more about the meaningful connections between oral health and overall health. The Verily Baseline Health Study is monitoring health attributes of a large group of people over time. Colgate will be adding optimal oral health practices like periodontal therapy and brushing with a smart toothbrush like hum by Colgate®. We can then determine how strongly oral health practices - both at home and with professional dental treatments - can influence systemic health maintenance and outcomes. We’re excited that our partnership with Verily will empower people around the world to better safeguard their well-being and build brighter futures.

Innovative Solutions

For nearly 200 years, Colgate has focused on developing products that promote healthy smiles. We know that brushing twice a day is key to preventing oral disease. Even so, many people still struggle to follow proper brushing and flossing habits -- a challenge we aim to solve with innovative technology.

hum by Colgate smart connected toothbrush for kids

Our R&D team envisioned a new type of toothbrush -- one that would do a better job cleaning while also helping people improve their brushing technique over time. We developed hum by Colgate, a smart, connected toothbrush that monitors brushing habits and offers personalized tips for ways to improve. And to build healthy habits at a young age, the product line also includes hum kids by Colgate®, which features augmented reality games and incentivizing rewards through a dedicated app that makes brushing more fun and exciting for kids.

It’s clear that oral health is closely linked to our overall well-being, health and, ultimately, our communities’ potential to thrive. At Colgate, we’re committed to leveraging clinical research, collaborating with partners and developing innovative products and technology to achieve a zero-cavity, healthier future for all.

Now that’s a future worth smiling about!

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