Showing posts with label Listerine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Listerine. Show all posts

May 11, 2018

Wordology, Halitosis

Halitosis is a word used in mouthwash commercials to describe a medical condition characterized by very bad breath. Contrary to the popular belief that Listerine coined the term halitosis, its origins date to before the product's existence.

Company owner Jordan Wheat Lambert decided to market Listerine as a cure for bad breath. To convince the public they needed Listerine, he needed something ominous sounding and came across the word halitosis. The company then ran a series of ads claiming that halitosis was a chronic problem plaguing America for which only it had the cure. In seven years, the company's revenues rose from $115,000 to more than $8 million.

This was about the same time King Gillette convinced women to shave their underarms and legs. Both men are still regarded as marketing geniuses.

Jul 25, 2014

Joseph Lister

The idea of clean operating rooms did not exist until Joseph Lister began his practice of antisepsis in the 1860's. He introduced washing surgical instruments in carbolic acid, and keeping the operating area clean and sterile. He used it on the incision wound, dressings, and instruments. It was a revolutionary change for hospitals. Lister discovered that the infections in wounds which caused so many surgical deaths were not caused by the miasma in the air, but by something entirely different.

In his article in The Lancet of 21 September 1867 and his book 'Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery' he explained the cause was microorganisms that traveled from the surgeon’s hands onto the wound. Because of his miraculous results in operative and post-operative infection, Lister is considered to be one of the founders of modern surgery.

In 1893 Dr. J.C. Bloodgood (his real name) insisted on surgical glove use by his entire surgical team. This was followed by W. Steward Halstead's adoption of surgical gloves at Johns Hopkins that gained national exposure. Halstead is generally credited with the glove's discovery, which is not true.

Listerine was formulated by Dr. Joseph Lawrence and Jordan Wheat Lambert in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1879. Joseph Lister had nothing to do with it, other than it was named after him.

Bad Breath Eliminators

If you do not have any Listerine handy, here are a few other options. Sugar may cure hiccups, but it also can cause plaque, which is one cause of bad breath. Bad breath usually results from poor oral hygiene and gastrointestinal health. Breath odors originate inside the mouth and also from the digestive tract. The cause in both is mostly bacteria.

Coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and cardamom are all good for fighting bad breath, either by chewing, or steeping in hot water, as a tea.

Research also shows that live microorganisms in sugar free yogurt may reduce levels of bad breath germs. A serving of yogurt each day reduces the level of odor-causing hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. It also reduces bacteria in the mouth as well as reduces plaque and gum disease.

Apples, carrots, celery, and any fiber-rich fruits or vegetables also help fight halitosis. Plaque build-up causes odors and eating foods that increase saliva production keep the mouth moist and rinsed. Eating berries, citrus fruits, melons and other vitamin C foods create an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth and prevent gum disease and gingivitis.

Jun 1, 2012


Walmart pulled Listerine off shelves in 1989 after a woman claimed it burned her mouth. After testing, they restocked it. Turns out that’s just how Listerine tastes. I could have told them that.

Feb 17, 2012

What's in a Name, Listerine

Listerine was invented 133 years ago, first as a surgical antiseptic, but also as a cure for gonorrhea. An article from 1888 recommends Listerine “for sweaty feet and soft corns, developing between the toes.”

During the next century, it was marketed as a refreshing additive to cigarettes, a cure for the common cold, and as a dandruff treatment. In the 1920s the powerful, germ-killing liquid finally landed on its most lucrative use as a cure for bad breath.

Dec 10, 2010


Listerine was the first over-the-counter mouthwash sold in the United States in 1914 and by 1921 it was already falsely marketing its product. Declaring itself a cure-all for common cold ailments like sore throats and coughs, a dandruff preventative, an anti-shave tonic, and a safe way to protect yourself from cuts, bruises, wounds, and stings, Listerine was slapped with numerous false advertisement lawsuits.

In 1975, the Federal Trade Commission ordered the company to spend $10 million in corrective advertising, as their product was no more effective in treating colds than gargling warm water. In 2005, the company was slapped with another lawsuit. This time because Listerine claimed it was as “effective as floss” after rigging clinical trials.