SINGAPORE (Apr 30): The business of oral care seems to run in Andy Ong’s family. His mother’s great-grandfather, Cheong Chun Tin, became Singapore’s first dentist in 1869. Chun Tin Road, in Bukit Timah, is named after him. In 1964, Ong’s mother started Corlison, a distributor specialising in oral care products. In his adolescent years, Ong helped his mother pack and promote toothbrushes at local retail outlets.

In 2000, Ong joined the family business as marketing manager. The same year, Corlison suffered a major setback as it lost a brand partner that accounted for a substantial portion of its revenue. That was when Ong decided to transform Corlison from a distributor into a brand owner.

Working with an R&D team, Ong created the Pearlie White oral care range. It is premised on the idea that oral hygiene products should not contain harsh ingredients. “I asked people if they liked having artificial colouring or flavouring in [their] food. Their answer was usually no. So why then do we need blue or green-coloured toothpaste? It makes no sense to add all these chemicals,” he says.

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