Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash Still Taking Out Tastebuds

Four years after we first published stories about Crest Pro-Health mouthwash doing scary things to people’s mouths, the product is still on the market. And it’s doing scary things to customers’ mouths to this day, 48 hours per day. One of those customers is reader Maria’s mom, who lost her sense of taste after using the product. A week later, she still wasn’t interested in eating.

My mother fell “victim” to Crest mouthwash about a week ago when, after swishing it a bit, she lost senstaion in her tastebuds. It was immediate. Now, whenever she eats, she has a sickening metallic taste in her mouth. My poor mom has practically stopped eating beacuse it makes her so sick .I’m devastated, my once vital mom now looks sickly everyday.

I saw THOUSANDS of complaints on the internet describing these exact symptoms and this poison is still on the matrket with the FDA’s approval. I am not satisfied with simply boycotting Crest, they must be held accountable.

If your tastebuds are still unconscious after a week or so, consider seeing a doctor. And calling Crest for a refund, then reporting the product to the FDA.


Not to be flip about it, but maybe you guys should consider taking this same product and re-branding it as a diet aid. You could be selling just another mouthwash, or you could be sitting on a gold mine here.

Crest Refunds Teeth-Staining Mouthwash
Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash Stain Your Teeth Brown? Crest Pays For Your Cleaning
Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash Stain Your Teeth Brown? Crest Pays For Your Cleaning – The Consumerist
Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash: “I Woke Up With Brown Spots On My Teeth”


Edit Your Comment

  1. CubeRat says:

    Spicy food does this to me. If I eat anything, even mildly spicy, my mouth burns and then I can’t taste ANYTHING for 1-2 days, sometimes longer. Black pepper is as spicy as I can go.

    • PLATTWORX says:

      I just avoid spicy food. I want to taste my FOOD, not have my mouth on fire and not be able to tell what I am eating other than spices.

      • elangomatt says:

        Spicy foods have plenty of flavor once you build up a bit of resistance to the capsaicin in peppers. I for one don’t like the flavor of jalapenos much but love the fruity flavors that habanaro peppers add to foods. Chipotle peppers (yes I know they are just smoked jalapenos) add a great smokiness to foods.

        • invisibelle says:

          High five, fellow jalape√±o hater! People look at me like I’m an alien when I tell them I don’t like the *flavor* of jalape√±o, but can eat red pepper all day.

          • elangomatt says:

            Awesome, I always thought I was one of a kind in my dislike of the flavor of jalapenos! I’ll still eat stuff with jalapenos (poppers are still awesome) but would rather have another pepper. And red pepper flakes aren’t spicy enough to me, I think I am gonna have to get some ghost chili flakes from sometime to see how those are.

            • ChuckECheese says:

              jalapenos are typically picked green, immature, like green bell peppers. this accounts for their lack of character. i don’t blame you for finding them uninteresting. but they pickle better (stay firmer) than ripened jalapenos.

              • The Slime Oozing Out From Your TV Set says:

                Most places, it’s impossible to find anything but green ones. Sometimes they’ll ripen once home, but sometimes they’ll just go bad :(. Most of the time, IME, “red jalapenos,” are actually fresnos, which I like better anyway.

      • Nunov Yerbizness says:

        Agreed. One can enjoy plenty of flavor, but not find heat or burning pleasant. I’ve never thought foods hotter than one-star spicy were enjoyable, and I frankly don’t feel the need to increase my tolerance just to flatter others that I share their tastes.

        If we don’t want to “get used to” it or “build up resistance” to it because we’re just not into mixing pain with food, that’s not a deficiency of any kind. We’re just not interested.

    • Hotscot says:

      My weakness is an Ortega Burger..

  2. MutantMonkey says:

    Damn, I have been using this stuff pretty religiously that last few months. Looks like it’s time to head back to Listerine.

    Anyone have any leads on other good mouthwash? Preferably one that doesn’t give the impression that you are swishing around Pinesol?

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      Just make your own. There are a ton of recipes out there, most of them involving varying quantities of water, aloe vera juice, baking soda, witch hazel and/or hydrogen peroxide, and peppermint oil.

    • CubeRat says:

      My dentist told me to use peroxide & water instead of mouthwash. Works great, really cheap, and doesn’t require a lot of prep, just a cup.

      I don’t like the baking soda, because of the taste and it makes me thirsty.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        Baking soda has lots of sodium (soda…sodium…whoda thunk it), I don’t use it either for mouthwash. But peroxide and water makes a great homemade mouthwash; throw in a few drops of peppermint oil and you’re cookin.

    • Necoras says:

      If it hasn’t been affecting your taste, you should be fine continuing to use it. I tried to use the stuff once years ago and it *immediately* dulled my sense of taste. It wasn’t a gradual thing at all. My sense of taste did gradually come back over the few days after I stopped using it.

      The stuff works and, unlike alcohol based mouthwashes like your basic Listerine, it doesn’t seem to be linked to higher incidence of oral cancer.

    • kornkid42 says:

      I recommend ACT mouthwash, not too minty and doesn’t burn.

    • GirlWithGloves says:

      The rinses by Biotene are nice, especially the PBF – Plaque BioFilm one. Extra protection!

  3. chrisAPu says:

    This is why I rinse my mouth out with Wild Turkey 101. Also because I have a drinking problem.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      I hope you remember to swallow!

      • chrisAPu says:

        It’s pretty common for hardcore alcoholics to buy that store brand mouthwash to drink. They usually contain over 15% alcohol and only cost a few bucks per bottle. Basically the cheapest way to get drunk.

        I can afford the good stuff though.

  4. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    At $3.49/bottle, this is cheaper than Zantrex. I’m on board!!

    What is the physiological reason why this would cause tastebud deadening in only some people but not all?

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      People have different numbers of tastebuds per square mm on their tongues. Google “supertaster”.

      People with high density of tastebuds tend to like spicy/hot stuff and don’t like bitter things such as coffee. People with low density don’t like spicy/hot, like bitter, and have problems such as this lady where something might render them temporarily unable to taste correctly.

      • pinkbunnyslippers says:

        Interesting!! I did not know this. Any time I hear these stories I always wonder how it can impact one part of the population and not another.

        Thank you for the 411!

      • Daggertrout says:

        Interesting. I’m wondering if I’m one now, because I can’t stand beer and my coffee has to be about 1/5 creamer to even be tolerable.

      • Sweet As œÄ says:

        But my brother loves really spicy foods and his black coffee.

        • Taliskan says:

          I’m the same way… I love super spicy foods (red pepper, hot sauce, and jalapenos on everything!:)) and I will kill for super black and bitter coffee.

  5. Coffee says:

    A week later, she still wasn’t interested in eating.

    Hmmm…I see a magical infomercial shilling this product in the near future.

    • Stella says:

      Seriously. They could jack up the price and make millions selling it as an appetite suppressant/weight loss aid.

      • smo0 says:

        Why not… kill your taste buds.

        Like that nasty nail polish to stop nail biting…. it works.

        • Spaghettius! says:

          This stuff always makes me lose my sense of taste for about two hours after swishing.
          And as for the gross nail polish… I would chew through it. The enemy of my nails is determination. Gross nail polish is a condiment.

  6. Wraith says:

    I’ve used the alcohol-free wintergreen version, and not noticed anything like this. Though I don’t use it regularly. Is there a particular version that’s affecting people?

  7. jrwn says:

    Why isn’t this part of diet plans??

  8. Cat says:

    Not to be flip about it, but yet you are.

  9. GirlWithGloves says:

    At least it’s not Peridex…

  10. invisibelle says:

    It does the same to me, though thankfully it doesn’t last a full day. Was at the dentist last week and they tried to recommend this to me. When I brought up the brown spots on teeth & weird aftertaste issues, they’d never heard of any of it. Sheesh.

  11. tdogg241 says:

    I used this stuff when it first came out and it had the same effect on me. Had a metallic taste in my mouth for a couple days and anything I ate tasted disgusting. It passed after a few days, but that experience was enough to swear me off of all Crest products forever.

  12. jnrcorp says:

    The non cancer causing mouthwash causes loss of taste temporarily? How am I to keep my mouth clean, functional and cancer-free?

    • DubbaEwwTeeEff says:

      It’s like the old saying, “Fast, good, and cheap – pick two.”

      Or, the internet dating version: “Attractive, available, emotionally stable”…

  13. momtimestwo says:

    My dentist tells me this is what I need to use to help my gum disease. I even add some to my WaterPik after I’m done flossing and brushing. I just spent $4000 to get my long-neglected teeth fixed. But I haven’t noticed any problems with this mouthwash. I use the daytime and nighttime versions.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      There’s a daytime and a nighttime version of … mouthwash?!

      Wtf. They do that to cold medicines for drowsy/non drowsy versions, but this … is mouthwash.

      • tbax929 says:

        There’s a nighttime version of the Crest Pro Health toothpaste. I haven’t seen the mouthwash. I was unaware of any issues with the mouthwash, which I’ve been using for years.

    • GirlWithGloves says:

      Ask your dentist about Peridex and Biotene PBF mouth rinses for your gum disease. Listerine made my gum issues worse (aching throughout the day was interesting).

    • Snaptastic says:

      My dentist was pissed when he found out the Pro-Health crap is what was turning my teeth dark brown–despite the fact I had given up coffee and tea for a year (in an effort to stop the browning).

      He still offers the Crest swag, but he no longer distributes any of the mouthwash.

  14. Cat says:


  15. dolemite says:

    I used this stuff for awhile. It does a good job of fighting decay and keeping your breath fresh, but I always had a metallic tint of taste in my mouth, and after a few months, I had brown stains show up. On my next dentist visit, they had to really work to get rid of the stains.

  16. The Twilight Clone says:

    Why the hell does anyone need mouthwash?

    • CubeRat says:

      We associate with others in our lives, not just computers.

      Also, I drink coffee, eat garlic, onions, jinsing, etc which many people find unpleasant.

      • The Twilight Clone says:

        You aren’t citing any oral health reasons. You’re citing perceived halitosis. Eat a peppermint candy or something else without chemicals.

        These mouthwashes are a total scam. I brush and floss every day and rinse with H2O. My oral health has improved due to more regular flossing and totally giving up soda.

        I used ACT for years because I thought it was helping me, but then a dentist told me it’s essentially worthless. That may be the one dentist opinion I’ve ever trusted. I stopped wasting my money on after that.

        • Jules Noctambule says:

          So you’re citing dropping soda as a reason your oral health improved, but you recommend candy to combat bad breath? How interesting.

          • nick91884 says:

            The candy is little more than sugar and peppermint extract. Soda is full of acids that soften tooth enamel and can form cavities.

            • ChuckECheese says:

              Bathing your teeth in sugar for prolonged periods, either through constant soda sipping or the regular consumption of sugared candies has been long known to encourage the proliferation of caries. You might be okay with a sugarless breath mint though.

        • katarzyna says:

          If the pepermint candy contains sugar, it will actually make your breath smell worse.

  17. u1itn0w2day says:

    What I was told with mouth washes and other solutions like peroxide is always dilute them with water. Most mouth washes are so strong they’ll kill too much bacteria including some good bacteria. I’ve always heard mouth washes can dryout your mouth which is just as bad because a dry mouth is just as bad as alot of bacteria or sugar, it allows certain bacteria to start the decay process because there are no fluids to wash them away.

  18. Nighthawke says:

    This stuff’s flagged “Defective By Design” in Amazon. So that should give you an idea what to watch out for, especially in peer reviews. And Crest has yet to straighten up and resolve that issue, shame on them!

  19. wkm001 says:

    This happened to me but I lost the ability to taste salt. My tongue was better after 4-5 days.

  20. tacitus59 says:

    I had a friend and a friend’s mother who could not drink coke-one because they would get a odd-metallic taste in their mouths for about a day after consuming.

  21. RDSwords says:

    I stopped using this mouthwash after realizing it was causing stains to form on my teeth. I’d go to the dentist, who would be able to scrape them off fairly easily. I brushed and flossed religiously thinking that I was not doing something correctly, but after a while I finally singled out this mouthwash as the cause. I switched to Listerine and haven’t had any problems since.

    • Snaptastic says:

      Ditto. I gave up coffee and tea for a year because my stains were so bad (even with the dentist scraping them off). I eventually came across a Consumerist article years ago and bam! Everything made sense!

      I don’t use Crest anything nowadays–unless I have coupons and get the toothbrushes for free.

  22. SabreDC says:

    I see Consumerist is still mocking Crest about the “48 hours per day”, even though it was Consumerist that didn’t interpret the label correctly the first time.

  23. RayanneGraff says:

    OMG… I used this stuff a year or so ago & I distinctly remember everything tasting wierd & kinda metallic-y the whole time. Never gave it much thought at the time since I was right in the middle of my hormonal imbalance & thought it was just due to my supplemental hormones. Wow… scary stuff.

  24. dush says:

    tastebuds harbor bacteria so crest gets rid of them for you

  25. Not Given says:

    I like this stuff. It’s the only thing that masks the taste of the stuff the dentist puts on my dentures and it wears off a short time later.

  26. Ed says:

    When it comes to this kind of thing, I have been moving to Tom’s products. They seem to give a crap about stuff, not just profit.

  27. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I tasted this stuff, and thought it was a little strong, but never really used it. So, this solves my problem – there are two partial bottles in the bathroom cupboard that my daughter left. She said I could keep them. After reading this, I’m dumping it down the sink and recycling the plastic.

  28. Halfabee says:

    I was at the doctor a few months ago for a high fever that wiped out my taste for about a week. He couldn’t find any link and my taste buds recovered eventually.

    I just checked under the bathroom sink and…Crest Pro Health mouthwash! Thanks Consumerist!

    I just dumped it down the drain.

  29. Nyxalinth says:

    Gods don’t let word of this get to the pro-ana communities.

  30. Tumara Baap says:

    The internet is full of nuts, and I’m sorry a few anecdotal reports don’t have much credibility. There must be published studies that have adverse effect rates. Low alcohol mouthwashes containing cetylpyridium are less likely to cause things like xerostomia. They work for bad breath. But they are marginally effective for periodontal disease. If you want to add an extra layer of hygiene to your oral care, flossing twice a day instead of once a day is far more beneficial. I’ve occassionally used cetylpyridium rinses without any adverse effects. Fluoride rinses are a different story and can be very helpful keeping cavities at bay in areas where water fluoride levels are low.

  31. tooluser says:

    It turns many people’s teath brown. It’s the iron in the pyrodimium chloride. Foul stuff that has no business in anyone’s mouth.

  32. MSUHitman says:

    Is there an issue with the toothpaste also or just the mouthwash?

  33. bugpwn says:

    The metallic taste and loss of real taste sounds like what some batch of pine nuts did to some people a year or so ago. Crest probably isn’t derived from pine nuts, so maybe those bad pine nuts added some of the same ingredients Crest has as an antibiotic or preservative. The symptoms are so uncommon and specific that there might be a link.

  34. Mintyfresh says:

    I don’t usually comment, but I feel I have to mention this. This happened to me after consuming pine nuts. I know that seems unrelated to mouthwash, but if someone had consumed pine nuts and then used the mouthwash they might blame it on the mouthwash rather than the pine nuts… or vice-versa, even. The sensation lasted for a week and the metallic taste was terrible. Some people report it lasting for months! A short search for “Pine Mouth” will back me up on this one. Maybe there is a similar culprit behind both the mouthwash and the pine mouth, who knows? I just know I won’t be using this stuff or eating pine nuts again any time soon, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. It really does take all the joy out of eating.

  35. OMG_BECKY says:

    OMG I had my teeth turn brown from this stuff!!! It looked like they were rotting! I had no idea what was causing it…luckily my dentist did! Anyway, I wrote to Crest and they reimbursed me for my cleaning.

  36. do-it-myself says:

    So THIS is what has been causing the brown stuff on my teeth? I just started using this a couple years ago. I thought it was from my regular morning green tea! I just bought a new bottle to replace the one that’s almost out and it’s going back to the store this weekend!

    Luckily for me I only use this stuff 1-3 times a week. I don’t use mouthwash everyday. I’ve never encountered the taste buds thing because I only use it at night before going to bed after flossing and brushing. But I also like spicy foods so maybe I have more durable taste buds?

    Why hasn’t this news flaired up on the news? This is the first I’ve ever heard of this! I wish I would have known about this much sooner seeing as I found The Consumerist in early 2010 and all the previous articles date back to 2008!

  37. sean says:

    Is the effect permanent? I read that tastebuds regenerate themselves every two weeks. Hell I could use a diet aid LOL

  38. Spaghettius! says:

    I used to joke that I invented the Crest Pro-Health Diet: when you get hungry, swish with Pro-Health. Everything will taste like cotton and a$$, and you just won’t wanna put food in your mouth for a few hours. Poor Maria’s mom, she’s a Pro-Health Diet champ :(
    This stuff is gross.