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Mouthwash makers warned on marketing claims

/ Source: The Associated Press

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.

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.