Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Listerine is a brand name for antiseptic mouthwash, named after Joseph Lister (father of modern antisepsis). Its medicinal taste is palliated slightly by a sweet flavor. The slogan is, "Kills germs that cause bad breath."

Currently manufactured and distributed by Pfizer Inc, Listerine is one of the most popular mouthwashes (Scope being its main competitor). However, there is no evidence that its properties as a solvent, mainly because of the 26.9% (in regular Listerine) alcohol, causes an easier reception of carcinogens. In other words, repeated use of Listerine does not increase the chance of oral cancer. Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI)agree that the alcohol contained in antiseptic mouthrinse is safe and not a factor in oral cancers. Specific study reviews and results can be found in clinical reports by J.G. Elmore and R. I. Horowitz [Oral cancer and mouthwash use: Evaluation of the epidemiologic evidence. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;1(113):253-261] and Mashburg et al [A Study of the relationship between mouthwash use and oral and pharyngeal cancer. JADA. 1985.] which summarize that alcohol-containing mouthrinses are not associated with oral cancer.

The active ingredients are menthol, thymol, methyl salicylate, and eucalyptol. Currently, other flavors include Cool Mint, FreshBurst, Natural Citrus, and Tartar Control (not really a flavor, but a separate type of Listerine mouthwash).

The Listerine brand name is also used on brands of toothpaste, and PocketPaks, a minty, dissolvable strip used to instantly wash and refresh the mouth.