Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste & Rinse: Call Me Mellow Yellow

Are your teeth turning yellow? Brown? The cause may not be smoking or coffee. It could be your toothpaste. That's right, the one with the whitening claim on the label.

proctor & gamble
Proctor and Gamble

In August 1960, Proctor & Gamble's
Crest was the first toothpaste to win the approval of the American Dental Association as a decay-preventing agent.

Until that time the ADA position was that buying toothpaste was a waste of money.

What set Crest apart was something called stannous fluoride, developed by Joseph Muhler, a second year dental student -- and later assistant professor of chemistry -- at Indiana University.

Actually Muhler believed stannous fluoride applied just once to the teeth by a dentist could offer long term cavity protection.

Procter & Gamble had a different idea for Stannous Fluoride: Daily Application
The firm paid $100,000 in royalties to Indiana University to utilize the stannous fluoride formulation. Trademarked as Fluoristan, Muhler's discovery became Crest's active ingredient.

In the 1980's P&G replaced Crest's fluoristan with something called fluoristat, better known in the lab as sodium monofluorophosphate.

crest pro health

But recently, P&G introduced Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste, formulated with stannous fluoride, like the original Crest.

But despite the positive, anti-bacterial qualities of stannous fluoride, it can -- and according to consumer comments often does -- have a serious side-effect: it stains teeth, causing them to turn yellow or brown.

In fact, if you read the fine print on the back of the box your Crest Pro-Health came in, you'll see a disclaimer:

Products containing stannous fluoride may produce staining of the teeth. Adequate tooth brushing may prevent these stains which are not harmful or permanent and may be removed by your dentist.

So let's get this straight. First, we pay for toothpaste then pay a dentist to fix what it does to us?

Crest Pro-Health Mouth Rinse: The Double Whammy

mouth rinse

Crest introduced Pro-Health Mouth Rinse as a companion to Pro-Health Toothpaste. Stannous Fluoride is not listed among the ingredients of the rinse but Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC) is.

Possible CPC side effects? You guessed it.

Out of 209 consumer reviews at Amazon for Crest Pro-Health Mouth Rinse, 181 gave the product the lowest rating (as of 1/25/10):

"But after extended use for a month it stained in between my teeth brown. It looked terrible and it cost me a one hundred dollar trip to the dentist to scrape that junk off."

"This product is absolutely fantastic if you are trying to get BROWN STAINS ALL OVER YOUR TEETH!"

"It looks like I've been smoking for 20 years. When I looked in the mirror this morning I was disgusted. After ten minutes of searching on the internet I found hundreds of horror stories about this mouthwash. How can this stuff exist on the market?"

But some customers report other side effects as well:

"I only used this product last night and this morning, and the entire day I lost my sense of taste! I checked this product online to see what other people were saying and they all have the same problems at me."

"I haven't noticed any staining, but that's most likely because I stopped using it after 2 days due to the fact I completely lost my sense of taste. The tip of my tongue felt numb and I could pour a bottle salt in my mouth and not taste a thing."

An Inconvenient Tooth
The issue here is not that these products don't live up to their scientifically-verified and government-regulated claims. Their effectiveness, we trust, is proven and well documented.

The issue is that many customers feel that the side effects and disclaimers have been drowned out by all the high-priced product hype.

So what can we do about it?
We consumers need someone on our side. Maybe it's time to call for back-up.

tooth fairy

More about this subject:

Tarnished Image for Crest Pro-Health Products