The FDA alleges that there is no evidence that the products prevent gum disease. Warning letters have been sent to Johnson & Johnson (Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash), CVS Corporation (CVS Complete Care Anticavity Mouthwash), and Walgreen Company (Walgreen Mouth Rinse Full Action).
Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash claims on their website
that the product protects against plaque and gingivitis germs for 24 hours.
Each of these products contain an ingredient, sodium fluoride, that does prevent cavities but hasn't shown to be effective in preventing gum disease or at removing plaque.
In the U.S. a company is not allowed to claim a product is effective in treating a disease without review and approval by the FDA.
At this time, there does not appear to be any injuries or adverse health effects related to the mouth rinses in question.
Once a company has received an FDA warning letter they have 15 days to correct the violations. If the company fails to do so they face seizure of the product or legal penalties.
“It is important for the FDA to take appropriate enforcement action when companies make false or unproven product claims to ensure that consumers are not misinformed or misled,” said Deborah Autor, director of the Office of Compliance in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a press release