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01 Jan 2005 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Australian Dental Perspectives

At the most recent meeting of the PDF in October 2004, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare launched the latest addition to their oral care range – Listerine Maximum Defence Toothpaste. Designed to complement Listerine mouthwash, the toothpaste was favourably received by the PDF and hailed as a useful product for both the professional and consumer markets.

Pfizer Consumer Healthcare Oral Care Category Manager, Nicky Denham, highlighted that Pfizer has always been committed to innovation behind the Listerine brand and is delighted by this new product development.

"Like all products in the range, Listerine Maximum Defence Toothpaste contains the unique combination of Listerine's four essential oils - eucalyptol, menthol, methyl salicylate and thymol - ensuring the product fights the germs that cause plaque and bad breath and helps protect gums," she said.

"The anti-microbial and anti-plaque qualities of Listerine mouthwash have been widely acknowledged by dental practitioners for many years. For Pfizer, it was the logical next step to develop a toothpaste to add to the range.

"Importantly, the product also contains fluoride to help prevent dental caries. We trust that by offering all of these benefits, Listerine Maximum Defence Toothpaste will be viewed as a welcome addition to Listerine's suite of trusted products," Ms Denham concluded.

Listerine Maximum Defence is available in three variants – Regular paste and gel and Tartar Control gel. Samples were distributed to PDF members ahead of the meeting, together with detailed information about the research that preceded the launch of the product.

The clinical trials reviewed by the PDF provide solid evidence that Listerine Maximum Defence Toothpaste:

  • Reduces supragingival plaque by 18%1
  • Reduces gingivitis by 16%1
  • Reduces bleeding associated with gingivitis by 41%1
  • Inhibits calculus formation2
  • Reduces oral malodour3

Commenting on the data, PDF member and Sydney dentist Dr Yvonne Sum described the studies supporting the product as comprehensive.

"The results of clinical trials looking at Listerine Maximum Defence Toothpaste confirm that it is a safe and efficacious product that professionals can confidently recommend to their patients," she said.

According to Dr Sum, the launch of Listerine Maximum Defence is timely in light of Pfizer's recent push towards a three step daily oral care routine.

"For some time we've advocated that consumers follow a daily oral care routine that includes brushing, flossing and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash. Given that mechanical plaque control is a core component of this routine, Listerine Maximum Defence provides a new avenue through which consumers can be introduced to the benefits of Listerine's four essential oils."

The benefits of a three step daily oral home care routine have been discussed and supported by the PDF since publication of a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association in 2004. The study, entitled "Adjunctive benefits of an essential oil-containing mouthwash in reducing plaque and gingivitis in patients who brush and floss regularly: A six-month study", showed the simple addition of an essential oil-containing antimicrobial mouthrinse (Cool Mint Listerine® Antiseptic) to a daily dental routine of brushing and flossing, provided a clinically significant benefit in helping to reduce gingivitis and plaque build up.4

Indeed, amongst subjects using Listerine, whole mouth plaque was 51.9 per cent lower, and whole mouth gingivitis 21 per cent lower than in those subjects who only brushed and flossed.

With the opportunity to introduce Australians to the benefits of Listerine's powerful essential oils via Listerine Maximum Defence Toothpaste, Pfizer is hopeful that more people will be motivated to broaden their oral health routine to include an antiseptic mouthrinse so that they too can see the benefits of using Listerine as an adjunct to a daily routine of brushing and flossing.


  1. J Coelho, et al. Am J Dent. 2000; 13 (Special Issue): 5-10.
  2. SL Santos, et al. Am J Dent. 2000; 13 (Special Issue): 11-13
  3. AM Olshan, et al. Am J Dent. 2000; 13 (Special Issue): 14-17.
  4. Sharma N, Charles C, Lynch, D et al: Adjunctive benefit of an essential oil-containing mouthwash in reducing plaque and gingivitis in patients who brush and floss regularly: A six month study. JADA, Vol. 135, April 2004.





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