Is it worth paying more for a label that says clinically proven?
April 25, 2014 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Is it worth paying extra for a clinically proven mouthwash, Listerine Cool Citrus to be specific? Or will an own brand version with (as far as I can tell) identical ingredients do just as good a job?

The own brand stuff is less than half the price of the Listerine. Both are water, alcohol, sweetener and small amounts of preservative and other bits and dabs. Both are fluorinated. The only difference seems to be the flavour and more importantly the price. I like the flavour of the Listerine and the fact it's proven to have an effect. But I also like the much cheaper price of the other stuff, which will mean I can use it more often. I just want to avoid wasting money on something I will spit down the drain.
posted by Solomon to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Unless you've read the study they reference itself, anything about being "clinically proven" is marketing claptrap. The only thing you should go by is the Drug Facts label, which is what the FDA actually checks for. Something with the same active ingredients doesn't magically behave differently if a marketing team did or didn't commission a study.
posted by Aleyn at 4:43 PM on April 25, 2014 [6 favorites]

The ADA has a list of all the mouthwashes that carry their seal, which includes a multitude of generic products.
posted by smangosbubbles at 4:45 PM on April 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

No. Don't pay more just because some product says "clinically proven". Companies often do their own research and thereafter claim that their product or special ingredient was "clinically proven". However, it does not mean the results of the study was published in any reputable journal, or that any independent (not conducted by said company) research was done (in other words, we can't know anything about the study). If you're wondering about a product's ingredient's claimed efficacy you can always do your own research to find out what is known about it. Just don't believe some label on a bottle.
posted by Blitz at 4:46 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

unless they can cite to peer-reviewed research where starving college students were paid to sniff the breath of homeless people, i would guess that "clinically proven" don't mean shit.
posted by bruce at 5:09 PM on April 25, 2014

I just want to avoid wasting money on something I will spit down the drain.

Well, pretty much everything you eat or drink is going down the drain at some point. The question is - Is the difference in the taste is worth the extra money to you ? If so, then it is worth spending more. I only ever buy Listerine personally; the off brands taste like ass and I consider the extra buck or whatever well spent.

But, people have different tolerances and so have different values. The only real judge of value is you.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:39 PM on April 25, 2014

Yeah, I only use mouthwash and toothpaste that has the ADA seal.

You can see the guidelines for the ADA seal, which include things like making sure companies meet manufacturing standards, that samples may be tested by the ADA, that there's objective evidence that products are effective and safe (and manufacturers must disclose past & present financial arrangements with investigators)

In short, it's exactly the kind of consumer protections I want.

(And not to hijack, but I've been considering posting a question about why there seem to be fewer oral care products with the ADA seal than I remember.)
posted by jjwiseman at 5:39 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

jjwiseman, previously!

I wouldn't pay more for something labelled clinically proven. I would pay more for something with the ADA seal.
posted by MeghanC at 6:05 PM on April 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

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