updated 9/28/2010 5:47:53 PM ET 2010-09-28T21:47:53

The Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters to Johnson & Johnson and two other mouthwash makers, saying they are overstating the benefits of their products.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

According to the FDA, the companies claim their products promote healthy gums, when they have actually only been shown to prevent cavities. The agency issued warning letters to J&J, CVS Corp. and Walgreen Co. All three companies market mouth rinses containing sodium fluoride, which the FDA says has not been proven to fight gum disease.

New Brunswick, N.J.-based J&J markets Listerine Total Care AntiCavity Mouthwash. CVS and Walgreen market similar products.

In recent years, the FDA has increasingly been cracking down on food companies that overstate the benefits of their products. The FDA regularly issues warning letters to companies that do not follow regulations for manufacturing and marketing. The letters are not legally binding, but the agency can take companies to court if they are ignored.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments