Crest mouthwash temporarily leaves tastebuds ruined (2023)

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Major brand effects tastebuds, darkens teeth

Picture this: a plate piled high with all of your favorite foods. Everything you love most–and it’s all yours. You can’t even decide what to eat first.

You finally choose, and raise a steaming forkful to your mouth. Closing your eyes, you take a bite, expecting bliss. But all you get is the taste of metal. Is it the fork? You use your hands for the next bite and still get nothing but metal.

Is it a nightmare? Not if you’re using Crest Pro-Health mouthwash, it’s not!

The Internet is flooded with complaints about Crest Pro-Health temporarily impairing people’s tastebuds. One woman told Consumerist that her mother lost her sense of taste for weeks, tasting only a sickening metallic flavor no matter what she tried to eat. As you may have guessed, the woman reported that her mother is having trouble eating anything at all.

Crest is acknowledging the problem–sort of. Buried deep in a FAQ on the Pro-Health website is a statement that the product doesn’t cause “permanent taste alteration,” but that its active ingredient may temporarily change the taste of food, especially since the product is made to hang around in your mouth for 12 hours at a time.

They say it “typically” goes away shortly after you stop using the product. Oh, and to answer the question of why they don’t, you know, WARN PEOPLE that they could be disgusted by food after using this mouthwash: The active ingredient, cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), is recognized as safe and effective by the FDA!

Well, that takes care of that! Basically, if you use the product and lose your sense of taste, surprise!

That’s not the only surprise in store with products containing CPC. They can also turn your teeth brown! Kind of an unexpected side effect of a mouthwash, isn’t it? But there it is, in black and white on the same Crest FAQ. But don’t worry–the brown tooth discoloration can be reversed if you go to the dentist and use whitening toothpaste.

The question appears again: Why no warning? Well, because the FDA says CPC is safe! Of course! And here’s a good one–they also pull the old “well, some other mouthwashes that do the same thing don’t have warnings on the label, so why should we?” excuse. So if you use the mouthwash and your teeth turn brown, sorry! We basically didn’t feel like telling you.

The thing that bothers me most about this (besides the fact that I don’t see how this product actually made it to the market) is that, unless you’re in the habit of checking detailed information for every mundane product you use, you’d have absolutely no idea about these side effects until it’s too late.

You’d rush to the doctor or dentist, wondering why your taste is suddenly affected or why your teeth look like you’ve been brushing them with coffee–and all the while, the culprit is that top-of-the-line mouthwash stashed under the sink.

Am I crazy to think that products that are supposed to promote oral health shouldn’t do anything to diminish the health of your teeth or tastebuds? I mean, really–why is Crest still allowed to rake in the dough with this pricey blue poison?

Sure, you can report problems to the FDA here, but considering the sheer number of people complaining on the ‘net about Pro-Health mouthwash robbing them of their enjoyment of food (and giving their teeth a brown hue), I wouldn’t hold out for much of a response. Better to toss it if you have it in your bathroom, and make sure your friends know about Crest’s dirty little secrets.

“Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash Still Taking Out Tastebuds,” Consumerist (
Crest Pro-Health FAQ, Crest, (

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