Saturday, January 14, 2006


Listerine Whitening Pre-Brush Rinse

32 ounces of this product costs about $8.

32 ounces of this product costs about $2.

Let's go back to that first product now. Here's what it will do for you:
Safely Whitens Teeth - Kills the Germs that cause Bad Breath

The Easy Way to a Whiter, More Confident Smile.

* Dynamic foaming action to let you know that it's hard at work whitening your teeth.
* Kills the germs that cause bad breath
* Continue to use every day for whiter, brighter teeth.

How does it accomplish all of these minor miracles? That's easy -- just take a look at the ingredient list: Water, Alcohol 8%, Hydrogen Peroxide, Sodium Phosphate, Poloxamer 407, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Citrate, Flavors, Sodium Saccharin, Sucralose

Hmmm. Well, water's just to dilute it to the proper strength, and alcohol is probably to help shelf-stabilize it. The rest of that stuff is either flavoring or soap (compare to the label of your favorite shampoo!)

Is this the biggest racket ever since Excedrin repackaged itself -- with exactly the same active ingredients -- as "Excedrin Migraine" just so they could charge more? (Interestingly, I note on that the price of the two products is identical there, but that hasn't always been the case.)

Hydrogen peroxide is great stuff. We soak our toothbrushes in it to keep them germ-free, changing out the peroxide once a week. This is especially important during cold and flu season, when germs can thrive on toothbrushes! But I figured out a while ago that just shaking off the brush and brushing with the peroxide, before my regular brushing, keeps stains at bay.

But what about the taste, you say? Well, hydrogen peroxide does "fizz", but it doesn't have much of a taste to speak of. It won't leave your mouth feeling minty-fresh; it's not that much different from brushing with just water. But you should use it as a pre-brush anyway -- brush for a minute, then rinse your brush (not your mouth!), add your regular toothpaste, and proceed as you normally do.

I was concerned that perhaps the straight peroxide brushing might pose a threat to my teeth, so I did some googling around. This dentist assures us that teeth whitening procedures, all of which use hydrogen peroxide, are safe so long as prolonged exposure to the whitening agent is avoided. A few minutes each week of brushing with peroxide won't weaken your enamel, but it will brighten your smile... for a lot less money than you'll spend on that Listerine stuff.

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