Teeth

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to three companies that manufacture and market mouthwash products whose labels make claims about removing plaque above the gum line or promoting healthy gums.

No such benefits have been demonstrated, the FDA maintains.

Warning letters were sent to Johnson & Johnson (Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash), CVS Corp. (CVS Complete Care Anticavity Mouthwash) and Walgreen Co. (Walgreen Mouth Rinse Full Action).

These products contain fluoride, which the FDA says can help prevent cavities but hasn’t proved to be effective in removing plaque or preventing gum disease.

Under federal law, a company cannot claim its product is effective in treating a disease unless such claims have been reviewed and approved by the FDA. The agency is working to curtail an increasing number of Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act violations among mouthwash makers and marketers.

The three companies are required to take appropriate action to correct these violations within 15 days. Failure to do so may result in product seizures or other civil or criminal penalties.

Organic consumers can find natural toothpaste brands—with or without fluoride—at natural and organic food stores, mainstream supermarkets, drugstores, mass merchandisers and online. Common brands include Toms of Maine and Jason.

Be sure to consume enough calcium to maintain tooth health.

Photo: Martin Kingsley