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29 July 2012 @ 09:56 am
My dental hygienist gave me a HUGE bottle of Listerine and told me to swish with it for a minute every day to prevent gum disease. GAH! Tastes awful, makes my tongue and cheeks tingle painfully. I can't take it longer than 30 seconds. Any advice on how to improve the experience, or recommendations for an alternate product?
billzilla on July 29th, 2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
I've found that the Cool Mint Listerine isn't nearly as foul-tasting as the classic stuff. No idea if there's any difference in effectiveness. There are also dental rinses, like Plaque and Act, that are specifically designed to prevent gum disease.
Good luck!
Annetxanne on July 29th, 2012 05:03 pm (UTC)
Something that isn't mostly alcohol?
(Deleted comment)
Lionesselisem on July 29th, 2012 05:16 pm (UTC)
The issue for gum disease is not fluoride, though.
threeoutsidethreeoutside on July 29th, 2012 05:37 pm (UTC)
I loathe the taste and cauterization of Listerine also. It's like reaming out the inside of your mouth with hydrochloric acid. I can't imagine whoever dreamt this tractor fuel would make a good oral rinse. But the "special" rinses like Plaque and Act are (to my mind) horrendously overpriced.

I think as long as you brush and floss at least twice daily, just about any other mouthwash would be as effective, including simple saline solution.
biomekanic: Lethal lagomorphbiomekanic on July 29th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
Read up on the history of Listerine. It's fascinating horrifying. It was originally meant to be a deodorant for "lady parts".
threeoutsidethreeoutside on July 29th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
That surprises me. I thought it was floor polish.
Lionesselisem on July 30th, 2012 03:39 am (UTC)
Yeah. klages has some old packaging and advertisements that cheerfully explain how that works. Eek.
Allanallanh on July 29th, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
I use [original version] Scope, which doesn't burn quite as badly. I'll also use the generic equivalent [to Scope] product from Rite Aid or CVS.

I've also had great luck with Biotene, which doesn't burn, and tastes reasonably OK, but which is expensive as hell. I used to have to use it because of dry mouth from using my CPAP, until I had sinus surgery and could breathe through my nose properly. None of which makes Biotene unsuitable other than the price.

Wolf Lahti: antimonywolflahti on July 29th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)

Listerine is by far the best preventive of the many mouthwashes available; other brands may be less offensive but do not work as well.

I have found the citrus-flavor to be the most palatable.
Kate Schaefer: First Iconkate_schaefer on July 29th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Dilute hydogen peroxide taste awful, but works well. My dentist recommends changing the pH of the mouth frequently by alternating brushing with toothpaste or baking soda, rinsing sometimes with warm salt water, sometimes with dilute hydrogen peroxide.
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on July 29th, 2012 07:05 pm (UTC)
Rinse your mouth with salt disolved in hot water. Changes the chemical base. (and thats salt to taste, the saltier the better)
Suefrostfox on July 29th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
I can't use any of them; too strong and they make me want to heave.
Vile things.

mjjflemmings on July 29th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
(from the friends' friend list: please excuse the intrusion)

In Canada, at least, there's something called Listerine Zero. No alcohol, hence no burning sensation, but everything else present.
smoking catnip and chasing my tail: EVILjettcat on July 30th, 2012 02:36 am (UTC)
Same damn thing
Tomvoidampersand on July 30th, 2012 03:20 am (UTC)
Instead of rinsing for a minute each day, I think it would be just as good if you rinse twice for thirty seconds each, maybe even better. Check with your hygienist to be sure.

In my case I like the taste of regular (gold) Listerine the most (or dislike it the least). Cool mint is a horror that I do not care to relive.

No matter what, you want a mouthwash with anti-bacterial ingredients. The key anti-bacterial ingredient in Listerine is thymol (oil of thyme). It is delivered in an alcohol solution. Eucalyptol and menthol are added so people won't drink the stuff. That's the awful taste; it's on purpose.

There are other flavors of Listerine, and there are other alcohol based mouthwashes that are anti-bacterial. I don't think it matters which one you use.

I have used Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection Rinse. It is a non-alcohol based mouthwash with an anti-bacterial ingredient. It definitely helped improve the health of my gums. However, it also stained my teeth black. My dental hygienist, after a heroic cleaning effort, suggested I switch to Listerine and it turned out in my case that I am happier with it.

The main thing is to find an anti-bacterial mouthwash that you will use regularly. The stuff really works and is totally worth it.
KMS: balesvgqn on July 30th, 2012 06:05 am (UTC)
To start, I would question the need for the mouthwash. Does your hygienist think you're at risk for gum disease? Do you regular have irritated gums? Any spots that bleed when you floss? Did she measure deep gum pockets where bacteria can collect? Or is she just a fan of proactively using mouthwashes? There's some disagreement among dentists on how necessary mouthwashes are.

My dentist has trained me to use a Proxi-tip brush after flossing & brushing which does a great job of removing the biofilms that would turn into plaque. No nasty mouthwash needed. Listerine would irritate the heck out of my mouth too, so I feel for you.
David D. Levinedavidlevine on July 30th, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
After years of no gum problems, I suddenly turned up with ALL of the issues you mention, so I need a new home-care regimen. Two weeks of special care, including a prescription oral rinse, have made a great improvement, but now I'm on Listerine to prevent problems going forward. (I thought the prescription stuff tasted bad, but I got used to it. The Listerine makes my tongue hurt.)
KMS: balesvgqn on July 30th, 2012 03:56 pm (UTC)
Do consider giving a Proxi-Tip a try then. It takes a few more minutes than simply rinsing with mouthwash, but is more effective at reaching problem spots (which, frankly, mouthwash generally doesn't touch, one of the main reasons my dentist isn't in favor of it). With daily diligent probing between the teeth and along the gum lines, it's totally effective, in my experience. You get really direct feedback too -- is there bleeding or not? -- so it's easy to tell where the problem areas are that need more attention. Swishing the probe in a clear glass of water will clearly show you the biofilm that you're disturbing with it -- it's amazing what is still there even after flossing & brushing.

Tangentially, I found myself unable to eat spicy foods for a few years because they made my tongue hurt unbearably. This never used to be the case. I eventually realized that the toothpaste I was using was also making my tongue sting. By changing to a mint-free toothpaste (by Auromere), I stopped irritating my tongue on a daily basis and can now eat hot foods again. So the Listerine making your mouth hurt could have repercussions.

Good luck, whatever you do.
abqdan on July 30th, 2012 01:35 pm (UTC)
It's the alcohol that burns; there are now a variety of mouthwashes that claim the same effectiveness, yet have no alcohol. Designed for alcoholics, I assume. Maybe next time tell the hygienist you're an alcoholic and see what she recommends!

If you persevere with the treatment, check out the 'own brand' versions in supermarkets, which are usually identical in content to Listerine, and half the price.
David D. Levinedavidlevine on July 30th, 2012 02:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks, all, for your suggestions! I'm going to try diluting the stuff a bit with water and see if I can get used to it, and if that doesn't work I'll try one of the alternative products you've mentioned.
kathrynmicekathrynmice on August 2nd, 2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
That's interesting . . .
. . . my general practitioner told me to soak my feet in Listerine for five minutes every day. It cures a popular swimming pool shower infection (one or two soakings depending on how bad it is) and cleans up diseased toenails (if used every day for a month).

It is just as nasty to smell while your toes are soaking in it as it is to imagine actually putting it in your mouth.

Personally, I rinse my gums in Meyer's Dark Rum. Hold on as long as you can and when you are done, you can either swallow or spit.

David D. Levinedavidlevine on August 2nd, 2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
Re: That's interesting . . .
According to voidampersand, the main antibacterial ingredient in Listerine is thymol (oil of thyme), which I imagine works topically as well as orally.
Janet Freemanjanetfreeman on August 4th, 2012 01:17 am (UTC)
I was told to use a non-alcohol mouthwash to protect my teeth while my mouth was dry during chemo and radiation. I used Crest Pro-Health, but it stained my teeth. I switched to Listerine Zero (no alcohol) and I don't mind its taste. Of course, some of my tastebuds were fried by chemo ...

Edited at 2012-08-04 01:19 am (UTC)