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Tarnished Image for Crest Pro-Health Products

May 13th, 2008 · No Comments

Cincinnati-based Crest, the maker of the popular dental care products, including Crescrest toothpastet Whitestrips, Crest Whitening Mouthwash, and the Crest Pro-Health line of products, is getting some flack from consumers. Crest Pro-Health toothpaste is supposed to protect against gingivitis, plaque, tartar, caries, stains, and sensitivity while freshening breath.

Users of Pro-Health toothpaste and mouth rinse have voiced complaints on the Internet (from Associated Content to Amazon and beyond) about dark stains appearing between teeth. One consumer tried to remove the stains with another company’s whitening system, then Crest Renewal Strips, to no avail. Complaints equate the stains to those caused by chewing tobacco or taking methamphetamines, which sounds a bit harsh. The complaints are not accompanied by photos. And wait a minute… Crest Pro-Health product labels state that stannous fluoride in the toothpaste may cause surface stains.

The Crest Pro-Health line of products, which includes mouth rinse, night rinse, and toothpaste, was tested for 10 years and approved by the ADA before hitting the market in 2006. In fact, Crest marketed the first clinically-proven toothpaste in 1955. This company has a history and a good name. The Pro-Health line is intended to be the new generation, the better generation, of oral homecare products. Dr. Robert Fazio, Associate Professor at Yale University Medical Scool and a Crest Pro-Health Advisory Board member says that the Pro-Health technology was tested for years and offers consumers a weapon against oral health problems and diseases.

Crest responded to complaints by placing this information in their FAQs on stains/whitening section:
Q: “As a Dental Hygienist, I have noticed some staining in my patients using Crest Pro-Health Rinse. Is there chlorhexidine in this like there is in Peridex?”

A: Like all mouthwashes that effectively fight plaque and gingivitis, Crest Pro-Health Rinse can contribute to temporary, surface-level brown teeth discoloration, which is reported by a small percentage of individuals.

  • Teeth discoloration could actually be one indication, in some people, that the product is working: after the rinse kills germs in your mouth, the dead germs can collect on the teeth surface and create the appearance of a brown stain.
  • Teeth discoloration could be exaggerated by many other factors, such as existing tartar on teeth, consumption of colored beverages like coffee, tea and/or red wine, or tobacco use.
  • Brown teeth discoloration from use of mouthwashes that effectively fight plaque and gingivitis is not harmful. It is reversible – and largely preventable – through options like brushing with a power toothbrush and tartar-control/whitening toothpaste, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly.

So in this age of cosmetic dentistry and the crazy popularity of teeth whitening, why would a big name like Crest market a product that could stain teeth? No one’s really sure. Some speculate money.

I have a bottle of Crest Pro-Health Night Rinse at home, and it will meet its demise this evening – as will my husband’s, though we have used it for months with no negative side effects. I’m not giving up on Crest, though. I won’t toss my Crest baking soda toothpaste or the kids’ Whitening Expressions flavored toothpaste.


Associated Press Complaint

Crest Changes the Future of Oral Care at Medical News Today

Turning Customers’ Teeth Brown

Amazon Complaints

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