Questions on Cleaning System and Receding Gums

Dr. Ellie,

I hope this email finds you well. I want to again thank you for the useful resources (book and blog) that you put at our disposal.

I would like to steal five minutes of your time and ask for your opinion on the link some studies found between mouthwash and oral cancer (

Thank you very much,


Hi F,

Thanks for the link. This was a very good post about mouth rinses and some of the studies.

You see that from all these studies there are very mixed results. I believe that there are other factors that were not discussed – like the inclusion of whitening agents, and specific ingredients like triclosan etc. in rinses. I agree wholeheartedly that some mouth rinses are scary. I would NEVER recommend the use of a whitening mouth rinse – with peroxide or baking soda included.

The only negative studies about Listerine were done by a competitor – and they were not “real life” studies. The research study used skin cells out of the mouth – separated in the lab – which is not how biofilm works. When cells and proteins intermix (in the mouth) the cell properties are completely different from how they behave when part of a “community.”

When you have a HEALTHY balance of good bacteria etc in your mouth (which is the GOAL of my system) it allows a thin film of saliva proteins and HEALTHY CELLS to form a “biofilm” that coats the inside of your mouth, your teeth etc – to protect the underlying skin,tooth etc. The protection is from heat, cold, bacterial infection etc. Developing this film is important and it is only possible when UNHEALTHY bacteria and plaque have disappeared from teeth.

I would like researchers to take HEALTHY BIOFILM into consideration – when evaluating oral health, risk for oral cancers etc. When there is NO PROTECTION for teeth – they erode, decay and are sensitive etc. I assume that skin will behave in a similar way: without protection we become at risk for oral cancers etc.

I imagine that the same things that destroy natural protection on teeth can destroy the natural “biofilm” that coats the skin of the mouth. This is why I believe that prolonged exposure to peroxide, baking soda, mouth dryness, nicotine from smoke, acidity etc are all harmful to oral health.

I will continue to recommend my system of care – and feel very comfortable about the use of REGULAR or COOL MINT Listerine as an integral part of the process. I have addressed the fact that I don’t want to END my system with an alcohol containing rinse – and this is why you should ensure you have the regular ACT anti-cavity rinse and not the ACT Total Care product.

Hope this explains the logic and my opinions!


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