By January 11, 2012

Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection Alcohol Free Mouth Wash Review

I’ve wanted to write about this since August of last year, but I’ve been self-conscious about it. That’s saying a lot for me, since I’ve taken several series of before-and-after pictures of me during workouts and I’ve discussed some other intimate stuff here.

However, this post involves my teeth, and for some reason I’m really sensitive about my mouth.

But here goes.

Last July I bought three one liter bottles of Pro-Health Multi-Protection mouth wash, made by Crest. I had read that alcohol mouth rinse is bad for your gums, and the “sting” associated with it may bother some folks. The stinging part didn’t bother me, but as I already have some receding gum issues I wanted to avoid further damage to my softies.

The Pro-Health mouth wash promises that it:

  • Kills 99% of common germs that can cause plaque, gingivitis and bad breath
  • 12-hour protection against plaque and gingivitis by using in your daily oral care routine
  • Prevent and reduce gingivitis for healthy gums

The mint flavor I purchased was pleasant at first. So that’s a plus. Sorta. After about an hour or two the rinse had such a funky aftertaste I would frequently drink a glass of water before kissing Sedagive? goodnight.

I definitely did not feel any “stinging” associated with my prior usage of Listerine, Listermint, Scope, and various flavors of ACT. I guess that the medicinal benefits of the Crest Pro-Health product could be believed; I can’t tell you one way or another.

What I can tell you is that it stained the shit out of my teeth, and made me worry that something was wrong with my mouth.

I did some research, and apparently some users have a reaction to the type of fluoride used in the product. This special type of fluoride is called “stannous fluoride,” and is well-known for leaving brown stains on some people’s teeth. In some cases, it can turn their teeth gray.

Crest insists that you can brush the stains off, but that’s totally untrue. I tried. A lot.

In fact, I had to buy a special dentist tool called a scaler to scrape it off. Even then it was impossible to reach where the fluid had stained my teeth. Only after several months did the stains go away, and my teeth return to normal.

The product did not appear to stain Sedagive?’s teeth; she’s the lucky one in this adventure.

We moved residences about a month ago, and I packed the one and a half remaining bottles up. I hate wasting stuff. I think it’s a leftover from when my family was really poor after my folks divorced. Anyway, I unpacked the mouth wash.

Hatred of wasting stuff + a potential Gibberish article = here we go again.

So, after less than a month of use, I present to you … my teeth.

These are my bottom teeth. None of these stains were present before using the Crest product. I floss regularly and brush two times a day for 30 seconds a quadrant.

This is me going after my teeth with the scaler.


The after effects of scraping my teeth for about five minutes. There are still a lot of stains left, especially in between my teeth where it was hard to reach with the scaler. I have a dentist pick to check for soft spots in my teeth, which I could use this to scrape off some of the harder to reach places. However, that’s really not the right tool for that job.

Now that this post is up I’ll stop using the Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection mouth rinse. Sedagive? may or may not continue to use it. The product is fine except for the horrific tooth staining bit, so if she wants to use it up that’s cool beans.

For me, however, it’s another two month process before the stains fade away like last time. I may hit my teeth with the scaler again after typing this up. The close-up shot indicates I have a LOT of stains left on my chompers.

This was an embarrassing thing to post. It took me awhile to decide to do it, especially given the flaws inherent in my teeth, gums, and mouth.

However, I really feel like this product has the potential to screw up how someone’s smile, even if it’s temporary. If my experience with my blog has taught me anything, it’s that people search out answers to their problems and troubles — and sometimes they land here.

So if you’re reading this, your teeth are stained and you’re scared and upset … just give it some time and maybe a good scritching with a scaler. Hang in there. Your teeth aren’t ruined.

Not recommended

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17 Comments on "Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection Alcohol Free Mouth Wash Review"

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  1. freddy says:

    My dentist recently gave me samples of the “clear mint” version of this. I used it once. It was so sweet I felt like I was swishing soda around in my mouth and it resulting in a bizarre coating effect that felt so grody I brushed my teeth immediately after. Glad I didn’t give it another spin, wow. Sorry this happened to you.

  2. Ed says:

    Maw of the Sarlacc! Maw of the Sarlacc!

    And Ed does not help his self consciousness at all. (lvoe you buddy, your teeth are handsome!)

  3. Phoebe says:

    Just checked my teeth out carefully, and I’ve won the tooth lottery on this one. No staining or weirdness. Which is good, ’cause I’ve got 2 liters of the stuff and like the flavor better than most. I miss cinnamon flavored mouthwash, though. I haven’t seen any in a while now.

  4. Jenner says:

    I have a similar experience, only mine caused by prescription mouthwash Peridex. At this point the general surface of my teeth looks like I am a chain smoker and in between looks like I use smokeless tobacco and never brush my teeth. (I do neither) My teeth are horrible, I’m afraid to smile. So, I feel your pain. I’m sensitive about my toofs too and like them to be clean and healthy looking. I wonder if this stuff has stannous fluoride in it. My dentist told me it was likely to stain, we may indeed be talking about the same thing.

  5. Jamie Lynn says:

    My dentist recommended this as well to my boyfriend. He started using it and noticed the brown stains. The dentist told him it was from excessive coffee drinking (LOL!). I wasn’t convinced (as he only has 1 cup a day) and I noticed the stains getting very bad. They were getting to the point where he looked like he was missing teeth they were so brown. Did some Googling and found LOT of articles on the Pro-health. I was astonished!!! It was the only thing he changed in his dental routine. I told him to stop using it and went back to Listerine. The stains are fading and his teeth are getting back to normal finally. Thankfully. I will be having a little chat with my Dentist when I go for my cleaning in a few weeks.

  6. Kitty B says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. Just like you I’m very private and sensitive with my teeth. I can easily talk about anything else about myself but when it comes to my teeth Im very private about it. I even get nightmares about my teeth to the point that I’m traumatized if I feel any pain or see any differences in my teeth.

    I had recently started using Crest pro-health multi-protection mouthwash and at first I was pretty happy with it. I literally had only used for one week and started noticing a lot of changes. My teeth started to get a lot more whiter than usual and they felt even more cleaner. Even though my taste buds were shot only after the first day of using it I was happy with the results. That was until earlier today. I’m the type of person who is pretty sensitive to the amount of seasoning used on food so I usually prefer that little to no salt, sugar, or pepper is added to my food. This afternoon I had lunch with my mom and while we were eating she told me she was surprised that I liked the food with the fact it was sooo salty. The problem was that I couldn’t even taste how salty it was let alone could I taste anything at all. When my mom told me how salty it was I got a little worried. I knew that the only changes to my teeth regiment was the new crest mouthwash I was using so I started to do some research. First I saw and article back in 2007 where people were complaining about lost taste buds and coloring of teeth. Then I saw this article and that scared me even more. To think that a company that has had this problem for more than 5 years and they’re still allowed to sell the product is frightening.

    Again I thank you for your courage and your willingness to write your experience. You definitely saved me from using the product further and experiencing some very scary things.

  7. Liz says:

    Wow, this is so interesting. Your stained teeth look EXACTLY like my teeth. I started using the whole Pro Health line because somehow I got out of the habit of going to the dentist, and in my mid-thirties, am experiencing receding gums and some new cavities. I wanted to discourage gingivitis. (Truth be told, I wanted to get my mouth in “presentable” shape so that it wouldn’t be so embarrassing to go back to the dentist.)

    I have been noticing that my teeth look TERRIBLE – really like old rotting teeth – but I have always (even when going to the dentist regularly) had naturally yellow teeth, and I just assumed that these stains were plaque because I’m only a sporadic flosser. Basically, I assumed it was all my fault due to my less than stellar oral hygiene. But my oral hygiene is not that bad! I always brush at least twice a day, and use a pre-brush rinse, and a mouthwash after brushing. It’s just the professional cleanings and flossing which have fallen by the wayside. I figured that the lack of professional care was finally catching up with me… you know, you get old, and the decline accelerates.

    I knew that the stannous fluoride could cause brown stains, but I imagined that they would be actual spots on the front surfaces of my teeth. Now that I see your photos, I realize that I am, in fact, experiencing significant staining from these products. I’ve noticed that they go away if I use whitening strips. In absence of that, I also have to scrape the teeth with dental tools, but cannot get to all of the places I need to clean. I’m going to stop using all Pro Health products pronto because if anything they are making me imagine my teeth are worse than they are. It’s a vicious cycles… I think I have out of control plaque, so I keep using this product, only to get more brown staining, making me think I need more of the product.

  8. Kandy says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve had the same type of stains, and was afraid all of my teeth were starting to rot for some reason. This morning, I happened to read my Pro-Health tooth paste, and saw that the stannous fluoride can cause stains, so I looked up pictures and found this. I’m so glad to know that my teeth are fine, and this will go away with my cleaning I have coming up this month!!!

  9. Robyn says:

    This article made me feel SO much better. I’ve been noticing the brown stains on my teeth right where they meet the gums and tonight I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I just broke down and cried. It had to be plaque. It just had to be. But how? After all, I do everything just right. I floss, I Waterpik, I brush twice daily, I use mouthrinse – every day. The Crest Pro Health never bothered me, but a month ago the dentist prescribed chlorahexidine gluconate because it had been so long since I saw a dentist. After about 2 weeks, I started noticing the brown stains. Tonight I did a google search and found your article. Luckily, I have a second appointment later this month and my hygienist is going to get an earful for not warning me that the mouthwash could stain my teeth. THANK YOU!

  10. Bill says:

    Thanks for posting this as I too had the same issue appearing and I noticed the only thing I changed was deciding to use mouth wash (I’ve always just stuck with brushing/flossing but decided for once to give it a go to see if there’s a difference). Well, I certainly got the difference! I was using the alcoholic version of the product with the same issue.

  11. Angie says:

    I had this happening to me exactly with the Crest Pro Health toothpaste. I had stains since about a year ago in between my teeth. I did like you and bought a scaler and used it on my teeth. I got all the brown stains off over a period of several days (mostly because my hand and arm got tired and I had other stuff to do) I’m so happy now with my teeth! At first I thought I had cavities, but I thought it was impossible because I’m kinda ocd when cleaning my teeth. So people out there that have this problem, don’t be upset, they can be scratched off! Just try to take care of the stains as soon as you see them because the older stains are harder to scrap off than the newer ones, but they can all come off! Your teeth are not ruined!

  12. Ralph says:

    Thank you for your post, especially the pics. I have the exact same issue. I read a bunch of posts saying this stuff stains teeth, but your pictures confirm this is exactly what I have. My bottom teeth look almost identical to yours, and I have been using this stuff for 6 months. I just noticed the discoloration for the past 2 or 3 months and I was hoping it was just red wine stains or something, but it has not gone away and I was getting scared all of my teeth were decaying. I am not sure it is a good idea to scrape away the stains, as that might cause serious enamel erosion and then you might have a real problem. I am going to see what happens now that I am no longer going to rise with this junk. I just found this post last night and it feels like an elephant has been lifted from my shoulders. But I am very angry at Crest. I thought that was a brand name I could trust.

  13. thank goodness says:

    So so so grateful that I found this article! Been using the mouthwash for about 2-3months, just noticed the stains…. I’ve been drinking tea and wine for years and never dealt with stains! same deal with mine in between the teeth, and it’s starting to venture out to the upper teeth! Nooooo!

    Just bought some toms all natural no fluoride wash to replace it! Ahhhh you eased my fears.

  14. Amanda says:

    I too, want to thank you for posting. I recognize that it takes either humility or bravery or a little of both. At any rate I found these same brown stains on my teeth tonight after I’ve been using a prescription mouth wash for a few weeks. I was horrified! I thought maybe since I’ve been juicing so often I had some odd veggie stains. I’m relieved that it’s ‘only’ the mouthwash. But… Yuck!

  15. Deron says:

    I had the same problem. I can’t believe an organization would continue to market a product for your mouth that makes your teeth look so terrible.

  16. Rachel says:

    I have had the exact thing with Colgate Plax mouthwash. Think I will chuck the rest down the sink after reading this

  17. Shelley says:

    I started using the Crest Mouthwash five weeks ago after having my dental cleaning and repair work done. I was rinsing several times a day to keep an extraction site clean. This weekend i noticed staining on my teeth, and was horrified when I looked closely at the back and saw how stained the backs were!

    I googled and found this information about Crest which left me angry and a little panicked. I have been brushing now with arm and hammer whitening toothpaste and a little baking soda, using my Sonic Care brush. I finish doing a good thorough floss with the water pic and almost all the stains are gone.

    I can’t believe this is still even on the market!!

    Thanks for sharing your story…and I hope anyone using this STOPS before the stains are impossible to remove.

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