Why and When Listerine Can Harm Your Mouth

Dear Dr. Ellie:

Hello, I have been using your system as best I can in Australia and would like to ask 3 questions. We have an oral B mouth rinse .05 % sodium flouride, the other ingredients are ; castor oil , polysorbate 20 , sodium saccharin, glycerin, spearment flavour, is this an acceptable final rinse to use ? Also I have been using the system for about 3 weeks now and I have noticed that my mouth is much dryer in the morning than it was before, could this be because of the Listerine?  And will this subside eventually? Would it be possible to make a Listerine at home using thyme oil and eucalyptus oil and water without the alcohol? Thank you in advance


Hi K,

It is very hard to advise people who are using other products.

I have experience with the specific routine – and, just like a cake recipe, making changes can change outcomes.

The ingredients in the Oral B rinse sound good …..but are a little different – although I doubt that matters here.

We do not find any problem with the Listerine use when it is part of my system.

It is important to sandwich it between the toothpaste and a final sodium fluoride rinse so that the acidity and the alcohol in Listerine do not present any problem.

I would never recommend Listerine be used alone as a final rinse.

Why and When Listerine can harm your mouth:

The main issue with Listerine is its acidity.

Leaving such an acidic rinse in your mouth can quickly DESTROY the layer of natural protection (called pellicle) that covers teeth and protects them.

This pellicle layer also protects the skin of your mouth.

This protective layer is formed from proteins found in your saliva that mesh together on the surface of your teeth and mouth. This layer makes your enamel tooth surface, and the skin of your mouth, slippery to protect it from damage.

Long periods of acidity or dryness quickly cause this pellicle layer to shrivel up.

(Bleaching teeth, pastes or rinses with baking soda, acidic (particularly citrus) drinks or alcoholic drinks can also damage this pellicle layer).

Without this protective covering, the teeth and the skin of your mouth become vulnerable to infection, fungus and without this slippery protective layer the teeth and mouth are easily damaged and eroded.

Listerine should NEVER be a final rinse

When Listerine is used as a final rinse – it leaves acidity in the mouth for many hours – which will damage this pellicle layer.

Now the teeth will be easily eroded and the skin cells will be more vulnerable to assault by the alcohol in the rinse (not healthy for anyone).

I don’t recommend Listerine be used as a final rinse EVER.I have spoken about this for YEARS and YEARS.

Why and When Listerine is Great!!

I believe that to be used safely, Listerine must be “sandwiched” between the correct kind of toothpaste and another rinse (ACT if possible).

This way you can enjoy the great benefits of Listerine – even if you have a dry mouth or an acidic mouth – no worries!!!

Used in a healthy mouth and used in the way that I recommend neither of these issues will occur.

There are multiple benefits from Listerine.

Recent studies show that it is able to eliminate all the main pathogens responsible for gum infection and disease in one minute.

There is no other mouth rinse shown to do this in such a short amount of time.

Gum disease and gum infections will wreck havoc on your body health – increasing your risk for everything from arthritis, diabetes, risk for stroke and heart attack etc.

I feel that NOT using Listerine – if you eventually end up with plaque, bleeding gums and periodontal disease – is much more of a risk to your health.

Just use it in the system and your mouth will feel great.

To stop the feeling of “dry mouth” – look closely at what you drink ( protect teeth with xylitol).

Also make sure you have enough dairy products, minerals, rest and sunshine – to help create healthy saliva ( from which the pellicle will form).

Hope this explains!!

Best Wishes,

Dr. Ellie Phillips DDS
Solutions for Oral Health
Dr Ellie@drellie.com

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