Crest Pro Health vs. Listerine

Dr. Ellie

What about the Crest pro health mouthwash? It does not contain alcohol which concerns me using it so frequently in the listerine increases the chances of oral cancer according to statistics. 


Dear JK,

Thank you for your question about Crest pro health.
I suggest rinsing after brushing with Listerine followed by ACT mouth rinse:

First the concept of alcohol causing oral cancer has sprung out of the fact that some old and very strong wood alcohols have been linked to a type of cancer in alcoholics.

The pure ethyl alcohol that is used to dissolve the essential oils in Listerine has been tested extensively and has NEVER been shown to cause any oral problems even in patients with dry mouth (xerostomia). The “alcohol” fear has been hyped up by mouth rinse companies looking to squash Listerine in the market and as a selling point for their own products.

I would never want anyone to finish their rinsing program with a mouth rinse that contains alcohol, for another reason because it dries the mouth.
Dry mouth and acidity are the two things that heighten your risk for cavities and dental diseases of all kinds.
Listerine left on teeth would not only dry your mouth, but is acidic.

I suggest immediately rinsing with a mouth called ACT chosen in a flavor that does not contain alcohol.
ACT is a dilute sodium fluoride rinse that works best in an acidic mouth.
The ACT washes away acidity and alcohol and leaves a protective film on teeth that helps to make them whiter, stronger and more acid resistant.

I know ( from 30 years as a clinical dentist) that this sequence of rinsing helps people regain oral health, develop smooth and shiny teeth and enjoy wonderful dental health benefits with or without a dentist to help. I do not have any knowledge about Pro Health. I know that oral care products are big business and you need to be suspicious of new products. I also know that pro-health can stain teeth and make you NEED a dental cleaning because it contains a different fluoride: stannous fluoride.
( My teeth remain very white and I have only had one dental cleaning in twenty years!)

Give it a try if you like, but you may be disappointed.
If you do find it wonderful let me know. I am open minded and would share the information!
Take care,
Ellie Phillips, DDS

Categories: Uncategorized


  • Aimee says:

    Hello!So, is stannous fluoride bad? That is the topical fluoride our dentist has given my daughter to apply nightly. It is Omni brand.By the way, we received your package today and my daughter was delighted! Thank you so much, your products are wonderful!Warmly,Aimee in Fairport

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Hi Aimee, The latest “free product” sent out to dentists nationwide is from Crest and it is the Pro Health line.I received a large box of free toothpaste from them and I really don’t know what to do with it!The last time I had some free plaque control rinses from Listerine ( another product I would never use or give away) I found it was an excellent cleaner for around the bath tub! Stannous fluoride is one of the many kinds of fluoride. I like a different kind of fluoride personally. Sodium fluoride is my only recommendation because it is the most tested, most stable and does what we need it to do… help to heal teeth.Fluoride works as a “catalyst”. This means that it really does not “do” anything.It allows minerals ( that are in your saliva in your mouth) to go into your teeth to rebuild any damaged areas.Sodium fluoride seems to be the most effective at doing this. Stannous fluoride was popular some years ago because it acts as more of an enzyme inhibitor. This means it messes with the cell structure of some of the bacteria in your mouth. This may be useful, especially if you are trying to kill off bacteria with fluoride – which research shows can help to stop gum disease. I personally don’t use fluoride to kill bacteria or heal gum problems – there are better ways and other rinses that seem safer for that. The main problem with stannous fluoride is that it will stain teeth. If you look at the side of the box of “Pro Health” under Drug Facts continued (above the logo on the front of the box) you will see under “other information” that “products containing stannous fluoride may produce surface staining of teeth”…..but not to worry because your dentist can clean it off next time ( using more abrasive polishes which will remove the harder outside part of your tooth surface”.??????? Now you see my problem with Pro Health. Anyone want my free samples because I am not going to use it!Ellie

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello,I just wanted to tell you that Crest Pro Health is HORRIBLE. I have used it for over a year. after a short while of using it, I got weird brown/black stains in between by teeth and at my gumline. I first did not know what the cause was. I thought something was wrong with me. Who would suspect a mouthwash? but then I found out that many people who use Crest Pro Health have the same problem and even more (loss of taste leading to loss of appetite, irritation, etc). You can find lots of comments on this by just searching Crest Pro Health. you can find more on the Amazon reviews as well. Crest is now admitting that it does cause some stain in some people, but only the blue one causes it. Which is a lie, because people who have only used the green one are getting the same problems. Also, they claim that it is easy to get rid of the stain, but many people are paying something like $1000 to get rid of the stain at the dentist, and it takes 2 hours.Some also say that the Crest Pro Health toothpastes and natural expressions cause similar problems, but not as much as the mouthwash.To be honest, Pro Health does a great job of keeping my breath fresh and make my mouth have a clean feel throughout the day. But it is definitely not worth getting those horrible stains on your teeth!!I just hope you get the word out to your clients and other people who come to your website, so we can prevent others from getting the same problems.

  • Anonymous says:

    God damnit, I've been doing a search because the same staining/loss of taste problem is happening to me. The worst thing is the dental hygenist recommended it because "it contains no alcohol and won't irritate my gums". God, I wish people knew what they were talking about!

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    The biggest problem is that companies have aggressive sales people and there is profit in selling certain products- usually not the good old-fashioned ones!I am glad we have the Internet and that you have taken the trouble to find out more by looking on line.Soon there will be much more turbulence in the dental world – when the information surfaces about teeth repairing themselves etc.

  • Heather says:

    I just threw out my Crest Pro-Health toothpaste. I have been using it for over a month. I assumed that because it was burning my mouth and causing my gums to peel A LOT, that this meant it was getting my teeth/mouth extra clean. (Is there a specific sodium fluoride toothpaste you recommend?) Thank goodness I never considered using the Crest mouthwash. I actually use the Listerine Zero (no alcohol) mouthwash. Would you recommend this? I have not researched it though. I see that you have recommended ACT mouthwash. I do remember using that product once or twice, and I had no problem with it. I will use it if you recommend not using the Listerine Zero. Thanks for your help!

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Hi Healther,I am happy that you have not continued suffering with mouth pain.People using my sytem of oral care often comment how wonderful their teeth feel – in days!They say their teeth and mouth feel "happy" and "cleaner than I have ever felt".Check out the system on my website -download the information and read carefully. system will only work if you use the EXACT products that I recommend – (not the LIsterine Zero!!)Don't forget you need adequate xylitol!Read the many booklets at the bottom of the page on my website.There are so many choices of what to use for tooth cleaning – but I am here to help.I hope you will give my system a try – FYI Closys is only available in Walgreen stores or on line.Best Wishes,Ellie

  • Anonymous says:

    Dr. Ellie,I was so happy to read the communication in this post as it is very helpful in trying to answer my most difficult question in the world of what is the best mouthwash (which was, there is no such thing for me). I like the idea of using ACT after Listerine. However, I have tried hard to use Listerine FreshBurst for 2 weeks since my dentist and everyone are saying that is the best and the ADA approved but I cannot tolerate its burning sensation. I do not agree with anyone who would tell me that this is the toll I will have to pay for my life to use the nice Listerine. I thought about getting Listerine Zero but it does not have any of the ingredients of the other ones and it does not do the function consequently (it is just for good breath). I heard that the one with Vanilla is lighter in burning but I am still afraid to give it a try since it has the same exact amount of alcohol. I am desperate to use Listerine and also your system but I need a solution. I would not dilute it with water because it is not supposed to be diluted. I am really not sure what to do and will greatly appreciate your help. One last thing, do you offer a free trial of your system (particularly the prerinse and the xylitol)?Thanks a lot!

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Drug stores often sell small bottles of Listerine – I suggest regular Listerine and using the exact products for my system – used in the way that I recommend.I cannot give you any advice if you decide to mix and match or add in other products that I do not recommend.For the results I am hoping you will enjoy- you will need to use the specific products, in the way that I recommend.You need to start with Closys ( can get this in Walgreens) and then find original Crest Cavity Protection paste.Original Listerine seems to work best – and you rinse the toothpaste off your teeth with this.The alcohol that people worry about in Listerine will be rinsed off your teeth with the final rinse – the ACT anticavity rinse ( do NOT get the Total Care).I hope you will try using this system in the correct way – since the benefits are amazing.Here is a link to cliff notes of my book and very specific instructions and explanations:

  • Kim says:

    I have a problem with something you said, " My teeth remain very white and I have only had one dental cleaning in twenty years!". I guess I'm the only one who noticed this statement?!You are a dentist and you have only had ONE DENTAL CLEANING IN TWENTY YEARS? It is recommended for everyone to have cleanings EVERY 6 MONTHS but you are a DDS so you are aware of this, of course. Strikes me as odd. I personally, really like Pro Health! I used it for about 2 months and my gums felt great and my teeth are really smooth afterwards. When I stopped using it my gums started hurting again, (I do have some dental issues)but when I started using the product again my gums feel a lot better, no pain, minimal to no bleeding and definitely NO STAINING. You said, "It WILL STAIN TEETH". The statement on the box states, "It MAY stain teeth". Once again, I haven't experienced staining of ANY sort. This product has also been approved by the ADA. I wouldn't listen to this "DR.". Please talk to your OWN dentist FIRST.

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Too tired to fight – so I agree! Ha! Ha!Today I went for a cleaning – and it was all done in about 5 minutes – just got a few stains off a few teeth!

  • Anonymous says:

    As a dental hygienist, I have to agree with Kim that you seem to be bragging about not having a professional cleaning for twenty years. Granted not every patient needs a cleaning every 6 months, but I am not sure what kind of message you may be sending to patients. Are you saying if one uses your "system" of products that they will not need their teeth cleaned either? Patients should be receiving an oral cancer screening, diagnostic radiographs, perio charting(recession is important too), caries check, etc in addition to the "cleaning" at a dental prophylaxis.Your regimine does make sense to me, and it is great that you have found something that works generally, but we have to remember that many patients have unique circumstances and may need a more personalized home care regimine. Also you stated that you "do not have any knowledge about Pro Health" I believe it is the job of dental professionals to know about the products that we denounce. As an FYI, Pro Health rinse does not contain stannous fluoride, or any fluoride at all.

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Thanks for your comments.I would like to make it clear that I am not here for a fight with dentists, hygienists or anyone in the profession.If you knew me – you would know this is not bragging – just encouraging people to reach higher.I am here to help people who have experienced years of treatments that never seem to end, who have problems of decay or advice that scares them.I love the idea of being able to take care of my own mouth – and you know that this is the only way to enjoy ultimate oral health.We have known about xylitol since 1970 – so why was there no word about the miracle of xylitol?If you eliminate 98% of plaque with xylitol – everything is different.I have done an Oral DNA and Strep mutans testing on my own mouth – to show that you CAN have a healthy mouth without dental cleanings.What does this show – just that there is a lot we need to learn about the oral ecosystem.Maybe the results would be better with cleanings – we have to do more experiments and find out.I began this on line conversation and breaking away from "traditional" dentistry standards after the 2001 NIH symposium.Although the evidence for xylitol was shown to be statistically significant, no one was talking about it.Xylitol has been a public health measure in Scandinavia for decades, used by the US military since 2001 – and still today there are many dentists who have never heard about it.WHY hasn't the ADA or anyone else provided better education to explain to patients that caries is a transmissible disease?Why do so few dentists discuss disinfecting toothbrushes – even for patients who have periodontal disease?How many dentists/ hygienists have perfect oral health themselves?Let's start looking closer at what works and what does not work.I want to help people that need help.I am trying to help people who dislike dentistry or who cannot face the idea of dentist – to give them hope and explain they CAN do things to maintain their oral health.With this confidence YOU are more likely to get them into YOUR dental chair.I KNOW that the system that I suggest will help anyone – even people without the means or ability to get to a dentist.I agree that people should have a dental visit to check and screen for disease. I state this clearly in my book – all the way through.I have NO association with any of these rinses that I recommend.You should write your own book if you have a system that works -that you believe in.I have helped thousands and thousands of people – that is why I will continue to do what I do.I think a good dental team should be like a coach – helping patients achieve higher and higher levels of oral health ( + screening for cancer as you say.)I hope you see that we are working to the same ends and I thank you for your message,Ellie

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