Listerine Protocol

Dear Dr. Ellie; 

In your protocol you say you can dilute Listerine “to taste”. Can you be more specific as to how dilute? Sounds like you’re leaving it wide open. I’m one of the hygienists from your BCC seminar. 


Hi N,

Thanks for your message this is a good question!

I recommend Listerine straight from the bottle (providing the bottle shows an ADA shield of acceptance on the label but always avoid Whitening, Advanced and Tartar Control varieties). Cool Mint and Vanilla Mint may suit people who have difficulty with the taste of the Original flavor.

Problems occur for people with very sensitive teeth. Usually these teeth are soft, porous and damaged and these people are in pain with hot and cold or anything acidic or sour. These people “feel” Listerine is to strong for them in other words it causes them discomfort to use. These people beg me to exempt them from using Listerine.

Listerine appears to be an important part of my program particularly for anyone with difficulty flossing or anyone prone to develop plaque and calculus. I suggest people with sensitive teeth start with a dilution of Listerine that they can tolerate without painful sensations. Usually this would be half and half – 50% Listerine/50% water (the Vanilla Mint is very mild flavor and may be a good suggestion)

The use of Listerine (even dilute) prior to ACT rinse, will encourage remineralization and the new enamel and in this way it will become more acid resistant. As enamel becomes more acid-resistant, the patient will be able to “tolerate” the rinse without problems. I encourage patients to slowly increase the amount of Listerine in the rinse as they find they can tolerate the stronger rinse.

As the strength of the Listerine increases, remineralization is enhanced and more acid-resistant enamel forms. In this way the tooth strength will gradually increase until finally the patient will probably tolerate full strength Listerine at the end of 6-12 months.

In the seminar I compared this to working out with weights. Start with a light weight and work up to heavier ones. Light weights will build the strength of your arms more than without any weights at all. As you progress, you will be able to lift heavier weights. If you refuse to use weights because they are “too heavy” your arms will not get stronger.

Prevention = Protection of enamel from damage (damage is always from acidity and dryness)(enamel protects the inner parts of the tooth).

For healthy, white, shiny teeth you need strong, healthy, acid-resistant tooth enamel. The more acid-resistant enamel can become, the less likely it will be damaged. My idea of “dilute to taste” is a way of allowing patients to adjust to the acidity of the Listerine so that they can tolerate it in their mouths rather than not using it at all. I cannot believe pain is good for you! I prefer to work without pain.
It is always a good feeling when people find after about 6 -12 months that they can tolerate the full strength Vanilla Mint etc…then they realize how much stronger they have made their own teeth!

Hope this answers your question feel free to contact me again with any others.

Best Wishes and thanks for your interest,

Ellie Phillips DDS
Dental Health for Everyone!
26 Corporate Woods
Rochester NY 14623

Categories: Remineralization, Sensitivity

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