Avid mouthwash users: The FDA’s got news for you. If you’ve been relying on a daily mouthwash habit to prevent gum disease and remove plaque, you’ve been duped by overenthusiastic advertising.

Last week, the FDA targeted three different mouthwashes, pointing out that their health claims haven’t been proven. The named and shamed mouthwashes are Johnson & Johnson’s Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash, CVS Complete Care Anticavity Mouthwash, and Walgreen Mouth Rinse Full Action. According to the L.A. Times, the active ingredient in all three products is sodium fluoride — “which the FDA has not found to be effective in removing plaque or preventing gum disease.”

I floss and I brush my teeth — but I never use mouthwash, simply because I’m not convinced the stuff is necessary post-floss and brush. Plus, many mouthwashes contain triclosan and other chemicals that have been linked to environmental and health problems. That said, there’s nothing wrong with a mouthwash habit — so long as you are using a safer mouthwash, and so long as you don’t rely on the stuff to magically remove plaque and prevent gum disease.

Were you using any of the three targeted mouthwashes? And if so, will the FDA’s latest crackdown change your dental hygiene habits?

Mouthwash claims don't wash
The FDA names and shames three mouthwash products for their unproven claims to prevent gum disease and remove plaque.