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Review: Listerine Agent Cool Blue Doesn’t Show Plaque

A lot of people think that a popular dental health product, Listerine Agent Cool Blue, will show you where the plaque is on your teeth as plaque disclosing tablets do.

Listerine Agent Cool BlueI was under the same impression myself.  I got a bottle so that my son could try it.  Unfortunately, I realized after testing it that Agent Cool Blue isn’t a plaque disclosing solution.

Listerine Agent Cool Blue tints the teeth a very slight blue color.  The product is intended to make brushing more fun for kids.  To use the solution, your child swishes the solution in their mouth before brushing, which tints their teeth blue.  Then your child brushes their teeth and checks afterward to see if any blue remains on the teeth.  In theory, this enables the child to see which surfaces of their teeth were  missed when they brushed.

On the front of the bottle it says that it is a “tinting rinse.”  As you will see below, I find it to be a very poor tinting rinse simply because it is not very noticeable and because it is so easily removed.  I also believe most people are disappointed with it simply because most people assume that Agent Cool Blue dyes plaque, like traditional plaque disclosing solutions.  To its credit, it does have a nice minty flavor and, as a safety feature, the bottle measures exactly 10 milliliters for you as you can see in the picture above.

How Listerine Agent Cool Blue Dyes Your Teeth

Here’s a quick before and after picture I took after rinsing with Agent Cool Blue (the AFTER picture was taken before I brushed my teeth):

Listerine Agent Cool Blue Test

You will notice it does NOT show you where the plaque is.  But, as you can see from the photo above, my teeth did change color slightly.   Since the product is marketed towards kids, I think the color change needs to be more dramatic to really motivate them to brush.

To see a before and after picture with regular plaque disclosing tablets, read the article How Plaque Disclosing Tablets Can Help You Brush Better.

What Agent Cool Blue Claims To Do

Listerine Agent Cool Blue InstructionsTo the right is a picture of the back of the bottle.  I noticed that they never come out and say that it will dye your plaque blue.

Technically, Agent Cool Blue does what it is supposed to do — it tints the teeth blue.

In my opinion, the color change is not enough to really be effective.  I don’t think a 6 year old is going to notice if he got all of the blue off of his teeth since the color is so faint.

The simple fact that people think it should mark the plaque on your teeth has caused Agent Cool Blue to receive some terrible reviews at Amazon.  I couldn’t find one positive review.  Below, I copied some highlights from the reviews.

What People Say About Listerine Agent Cool Blue

Here’s an excerpt from a review that PghYinzer wrote about Listerine Agent Cool Blue:

This stuff does not do what I thought it does. I thought it stuck to plaque and showed the really nasty areas. My brother and I used some red disclosing solution as kids – I thought that’s what this was. Brush your teeth, use the red stuff, see how poor a job you did.

This just dyes everything pale blue. I guess in theory you have to brush everything to get all the blue off but it comes off very easily so it really doesn’t do much good.

Very disappointing. I’m going to purchase something sold as disclosing solution instead. I squeezed all of the agent blue out and poured it down the sink – total waste of money and total waste of counter space.

A Fan “Breezy” had this to say about Agent Cool Blue:

This stuff is useless. The taste is bad and it discolors the toothbrush bristles. It seems that even after a lot of brushing, teeth still retain a slight tint of blue.

The only slightly positive review I did find was from Noname, who said:

It was so pale, I don’t think most kids would notice. Just a slight brushing will remove it. In fact, if I brush one side and not the other, the toothpaste removes it from the whole mouth…The blue tint makes them spend more time brushing, so that earns this product a bump up to three stars.

Was Listerine Agent Cool Blue Ever Recalled?

Listerine Agent Cool Blue was recalled back in 2007 due to contamination with microorganisms.  The Listerine Agent Cool Blue currently on your local shelves should be safe.

If you go to the site above that talks about the recall, you’ll notice that they describe Agent Cool Blue by saying, “the rinse makes plaque show up blue on your teeth in an attempt to encourage better brushing.”  Even The Consumerist thinks that Agent Cool Blue sticks to plaque!

Conclusion

In summary, I wouldn’t recommend Listerine Agent Cool Blue with so many superior plaque disclosing solutions out there.

Do you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on how to better remove the plaque from your teeth?  Leave them below in the comments section.  Thanks for reading!

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree with your findings and conclusion: Listerine Agent Cool Blue is ineffective and does not dye plaque. The bottle labeling here in Canada is slightly different, and states “tints plaque”. On the back of the bottle it also states “LISTERINE AGENT COOL BLUE Plaque Detecting Rinse is effective in highlighting plaque to improve tooth brushing effectiveness in children.” CANADIAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION. Both claims are totally bogus.

    I took photos after using Agent Cool Blue as well as GUM Red-Cote dental disclosing tablets. The photos are in my blog entry. I have used your photo and given you credit and a link back. I hope this is Ok.

    • Thanks for the comment, Don. I checked my bottle out of curiousity. There is nothing on it from the American Dental Association. However, they do have the logo of the Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Interestingly, it isn’t an endorsement, it just says “Johnson & Johnson…is a proud supporter of Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children.”

      It seems like they wasted a good opportunity to make a rinse that actually does highlight plaque. I think there would be a market for it, since people are definitely buying plaque disclosing tablets from Amazon.

      It’s interesting that on the Canadian version, it says that it “Tints Plaque” while the American version says “Tints Teeth.” I wonder if they ran into some trouble when they marketed it in the United States…

      I like your blog post – it’s great! It’s fine to use the photo since you linked back. Hopefully enough people will realize that it doesn’t work and Johnson & Johnson will make a real plaque disclosing rinse, or at least get rid of Agent Cool Blue.

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