Mouthwash staining lawsuit dismissed

A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit filed against Procter and Gamble charging that the company's Crest Pro-Health mouthwash causes staining and browning of teeth, according to a story in Crain's Detroit Business.

The lawsuit, originally filed in Michigan in August 2009 by Mark Rossman, an attorney who practices in Troy, MI, and his partners Gerard Mantese and David Hansma, claimed that Procter and Gamble marketed "a product purporting to clean the mouth, but which, in reality, stains teeth … a reprehensible marketing practice that should be enjoined and for which (the company) should pay damages."

The complaint accused the company of violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by not putting a warning label on the mouthwash alerting consumers to the potential for staining.

While Procter and Gamble acknowledges that the active ingredient in Crest Pro-Health -- cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) -- can lead to tooth discoloration in some individuals, "it is a very complex matter because the way stains develop on teeth is attributed to lifestyle factors, biology, and oral care habits," Laura Brinker, a Procter and Gamble spokesperson who specializes in the Crest brand, told last August. "In fact, any mouthwash that is effective at killing plaque and gingivitis could cause some degree of tooth stain even if it doesn't have CPC."

Hansma confirmed the firms had reached an agreement to dismiss but declined to say whether it was the result of a settlement, according to Crain's.

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