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Launched by dentists, this D2C startup is creating eco-friendly oral care products

Why should the first thing you use every morning be a medley of chemicals?

In 2012, this problem statement led a team of dentists to launch Delhi-based dental health startup Bentodenta brand with a difference.

While global and established brands like Colgate, Pepsodent, Sensodyne, Close Up, and Patanjali are single-mindedly focused on reaching consumers in the most remote towns and villages of India, this oral care startup is betting on innovation to set it apart.

Bentodent differentiates itself from the many products on the market with effective products that are “free of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)”, one of the most widely used synthetic detergents in toothpastes that “creates foam but also causes some commonly encountered oral care issues”.

Founded by Dr Ravi Narula, Dr Monika Narula, Dr Kajal Chhabra, Dr Neha Chhabra, and Kanishk Chhabra, the startup aims to “create awareness and high-performance oral care products that are natural and eco-friendly”.

Bentodent products are FDA approved, made in India, and are already distributed across the US, Canada, Southeast Asia, and Russia. They are also used and recommended by celebrities like actor Dia Mirza, fitness expert Luke Coutinho, and several health experts.

The company claims it has grown 3X in the last one year, has more than 7,000 online reviews, and is part of startup initiatives like Amazon Launchpad.

How it started

Many oral health issues are reported across India, despite the country having the maximum number of dental schools in the world. Dental caries, oral cancers, and periodontal diseases are areas of national oral health concern, according to a report by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

When Bentodent started in 2012, the idea was to educate and mentor BDS students. However, after many complaints about oral care products from patients, Monika and Ravi decided to research and develop products that addressed these concerns.

They pivoted from their planned model and launched the first Bentodent toothpaste in 2018.

“As a team of dentists, we have all come across the same query from most patients: ‘what is the best toothpaste’? We are bound to answer that but we still have patients who take all measures to maintain oral hygiene but continue facing issues like oral ulcers, recurring, ulcers, and bad breath,” Kajal explains.

“We all got together to brainstorm to understand the main issue and found that SLS — one of the main ingredients of any toothpaste — was the main cause,” she adds.

The USP: Natural toothpaste

The dentists developed an FDA-approved toothpaste that is free of SLS. They found that the chemical was one of the main causes of canker sores, mouth ulcers, stomach issues and mucosal irritation. It is also the reason why some people have recurrent ulcers despite getting treated, and also causes bad breath and dryness of the mouth.

Most kinds of toothpaste have a base of calcium carbonate. However, Bentodent uses Bentonite Clay, a cleanser used in Ayurveda, alongside natural ingredients like cardamom, betel leaf, mint, and charcoal.

“The toxins in our mouth are positively charged and Bentonite Clay is negatively charged. The clay attracts the toxins and detoxifies our mouth. Moreover, it gives out calcium ions, which latches on to the enamel and makes it stronger and less prone to cavities,” Neha explains.

The bootstrapped brand is available across all major online channels, including Amazon, Flipkart, and Nykaa, apart from being stocked in more than 70 stores in India and having a presence in six other countries.

According to a report by Statista, the revenue from the oral care segment in India will amount to about $1.77 billion in 2022. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.99 percent annually by 2026.

Bentodent has expanded its product portfolio to include dental floss picks, biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes, cornstarch toothbrushes, interdental brushes, anti-sensitivity toothpaste, a kids’ toothpaste range, and bamboo tongue cleaners.

Going ahead, the bootstrapped startup wants to “expand its presence to newer markets and grow its product portfolio” along with raising funds.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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