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The Business of Oral Health
Date Added: 21/07/2012
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The Business of Oral Health


Dentistry is a tough profession – one that is getting more and more competitive with each passing year. With competition between practices more rife than it’s ever been there is an ever present need for practices to find new and innovative ways to stand out ahead of rival practices in order to both attract new patients, and retain the patients they already have on their books. 


One way in which practices will often attempt to achieve this is by expanding the range of treatments they offer. Some will also offer additional associated services, such as beauty or relaxation therapies, which has been a major factor in the rise of the ‘dental spa’ over the last few years in particular.


But while dental practices are faced with increasing pressures to attract and retain patients, it is equally important that they run in an efficient and cost-effective manner, maximising income while at the same time offering patients value for money, and operating in a fair and ethical manner.


One particular area of opportunity that presents itself to the savvy dental practice is that of oral health. Most practices will keep a stock of oral hygiene products to be sold to patients for a small profit. While this may be a good, and well intended measure, the reality is that practices will very rarely make very much money from the sale of oral hygiene products, and the products themselves take up a fair amount of space. Furthermore, as dental practices can’t be VAT-registered, VAT can’t then be claimed back on the oral hygiene products being sold. Practices must therefore make a decision between increasing prices to cover the lost VAT, or receive less income as a result.


In order to try and address this obvious gap in the market, a number of companies have emerged with innovative solutions designed to not only save patients money and spread positive oral health messages, but also to bring practices more revenue in the process. (don’t forget your toothbrush) is one such scheme that has sprung to prominence, offering a unique subscription-based delivery service offers savings of up to 10% over supermarket prices, while giving practices a guaranteed 10% return on each sale.


The advantage of systems such as is that not only are they simple, and incredibly easy to implement, but they also actively encourage patients to engage with their own oral health. This not only benefits the patient in terms of improving the quality of their own oral hygiene regime, but can also benefit the practice long-term as patients will be far more likely to research treatment options, will be more likely to consider treatments they might otherwise not have considered. Practices will also notice a distinct improvement in levels of treatment acceptance as a result.


From a business perspective, the statistics show that schemes such as can potentially benefit the whole dental industry. Research shows for example that in America, and less so in UK and Ireland, the average person buys 1.96 toothbrushes per year – that works out as approximately 1 toothbrush every 6 months, though many manufacturers would suggest this figure is even lower still. With a subscription-based delivery service however, patients will be encouraged to change their toothbrush every 3 months – something we as a profession are well aware doesn’t happen anywhere near as much as it should. Not only will this bump up the sales of the toothbrush manufacturers, it will also in turn provide a powerful extra source of revenue for the practice.


As a dental professional you will already in a sense be ‘selling’ oral hygiene products to your patients as part of your day-to-day work. Generally however, you will find that you’re not so much selling the oral hygiene products that your practice stocks – more you will be selling on behalf of the local pharmacy, or perhaps even the local supermarket. With a subscription-based delivery service however, not only will your patients save money (and improve their oral health in the process), but for each and every patient you get to sign up, your practice will receive a percentage of their purchase. This means you don’t have to handle payments; nor do you have to keep a bulky selection of oral hygiene products in your practice.


In these tough economic times, innovation and value rule supreme. With modern dentistry changing at such a fast and unprecedented rate, from a business perspective in particular, schemes such as offer practices a real and viable means of bringing in an additional source of income. Not only does the business of dentistry benefit, but the profession of dentistry benefits as well. With happier, healthier patients, we can make a real lasting impact on the oral health of all our patients, and take another major step in the war on disease and decay. 


For more information on how can benefit your patients’ oral health, visit


For further dental enquiries, email

For sales, email

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