The Good: Works to kill virtually anything in one's mouth, Tastes minty good!
The Bad: Small size is disproportionately expensive
The Basics: A powerful product, Listerine Total Care truly works to freshen breath, fight tooth decay and have additional health benefits for the throat.
Last year on my annual cross-country trip to Las Vegas, I regressed some. No, I did not de-age or become less mature in any noticeable way. I did, however, revert to some of my behaviors from college when my throat began to tingle midway across our nation. A quick investigation of my throat revealed two white colonies of some sort of infection and in the close quarters of our Honda Civic hybrid, my partner and I were quite worried. "Have no fear!" I told my wife, "I know how to deal with this!" And I bought a bottle of Listerine Total Care at one of the Targets we drove by in the deep South.
See, back when I was in college - just as now - I did not have any health insurance and when my endurance and immunity would be lowered by exhaustion from studying and working constantly, I discovered that for virtually any type of oral or throat infection, Listerine works as a great germicide. Designed to kill germs, Listerine takes care of all sorts of infections above the gumline or in the throat and by killing whatever it can, Listerine frees the body up to fight the other infections, germs and viruses one might have that the topical solution cannot reach or kill.
Listerine Total Care is a liquid that comes in Fresh Mint flavor and is designed to help prevent cavities, restore enamel to teeth, strengthen teeth, kill bad breath germs, freshen breath (duh, if the germ that cause it are killed!), and fight plaque above the gumline. The 8.45 oz. (that's fluid ounces) bottle is essentially a travel size and it is not likely to do much for the consumer to prevent cavities, restore enamel or strengthen teeth, but the other three are not only noticeably done by even the travel size of Listerine Total Care, but done superlatively.
Listerine Total Care is a lavender liquid that comes in a clear plastic bottle. The 8.45 oz. bottle is enough for about ten uses. The black cap is tamper and child-resistant as it has a plastic seal and the cap itself must be squeezed on both sides to be twisted open. This prevents children - who have less gripping ability - from getting into the bottle and drinking this liquid as if it were a beverage. The Listerine Total Care Fresh Mint is a watery liquid with no leg that is designed to be swished in the consumer's mouth, gargled at the back of their throat and then spat out.
To use, simply twist open the cap, fill it with the solution and then tip the cap into your mouth. Almost instantly, the user will feel the Listerine Total Care working. On the tongue, Listerine Total Care will tingle and prolonged contact will cause a sensation most akin to burning (or being stabbed with about a thousand tiny pins) and on sensitive areas of the gums, inner cheek and throat there is a similarly painful or uncomfortable feeling. Once the solution is in your mouth, close your mouth and swish the product around. This spreads it to all affected areas within one's mouth and makes the best use of the killing power and restorative qualities of Listerine Total Care. The packaging recommends swishing around the solution for a minute and then spitting it out, but I've found the ideal usage is in swishing it around for a minute, then gargling it at the back of the throat - tip your head back, let the solution fall to the back of the throat, then exhale to agitate - to get the most bang for your buck out of it. Gargling it kills the germs in the upper throat and lower nose as well as simply taking out the germs in the mouth. The result is a longer-lasting fresh breath experience.
Spitting the rinse solution out leaves the mouth feeling clean and empty. It is important to not swallow this rinse as it includes so many chemicals designed to kill germs that it may cause sickness or extreme discomfort if swallowed in any quantity.
What does Total Care do? Well, first, it effectively kills any germs in the mouth and many in the throat. Within three treatments spread over the course of three hours, the white spots at the back of my throat were gone and my wife was no longer gagging at the smell of my breath. This effectively kills germs and while the root cause of my own discomfort is undoubtedly an infection spread from a split molar, the Listerine Total Care penetrates perfectly into the gumline to kill germs wherever it comes into contact with them.
Moreover, the user's breath is left smelling good and the mouth feels clean. "Fresh Mint" is a good name for this type of Listerine Total Care; the solution has a strong, minty quality akin to a peppermint/wintergreen mix. The taste is actually more evident when one expectorates the fluid; in one's mouth, the sensation is more overwhelming as a feeling as opposed to a taste. The taste is generically, but recognizably, minty with peppermint being the dominant mint flavor.
As well, the claim that Listerine Total Care eliminates plaque above the gumline is a good one; layered plaque or other build-up from food or make-up may easily be removed by the combination of the product and the agitation within one's mouth when swishing it around. This does have the effect of making teeth look cleaner and keeping the mouth feeling fresh.
As for the claims of fighting cavities, restoring enamel and strengthening teeth, the travel size (8.45 oz.) size is not the ideal size for that. However, having subsequently purchased a larger bottle, regular use does seem to meet the claims on the bottle. For example, my fractured tooth in back has shown no new degradation since I started using Listerine Total Care. The split tooth has been losing slivers almost every month since it first split a year ago. Since the cross-country trip when I started using Total Care, there have been no new splinters; and the broken tooth took a pretty serious bite of a Terrible's rib one night!
Moreover, none of my other teeth have shown the inclination to become cavities. Given that there have been no other changes in my diet or oral care regimen, I attribute the greater defense of my teeth to Listerine Total Care. Having teeth that seem stronger lends one a level of confidence that fracturing teeth and bad breath quickly robs one of. Fortunately, Listerine Total Care's Fresh Mint formula does an excellent job of leaving one feeling more confident because it works!
Still, for those seriously considering adding Listerine Total Care - a little irony considering there is another formula that also whitens teeth - to their dental or health care regimen, a larger size would be a better economic and environmental value. Even so, until the United States has universal health care, this remains one of the best options for reducing potential sick days, promoting happiness in marriages and civility for anyone leaning close to talk with anyone else.
For other oral care products, please check out my reviews of:
Kiss My Face Triple Action Aloe Toothpaste
For other health and beauty products, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.