Best Mouthwashes for Your Teeth, Gums & Breath

There are a ton of mouthwashes to choose from, so figuring out which one is best for you can be a challenge.

All of these products have one thing in common: the ADA seal of approval (American Dental Association), which, based on scientific findings, offers the assurance that the product meets certain safety and effectiveness standards.

The Healthline medical review team focused on mouthwashes to support dental health. We looked at certain characteristics such as the active and inactive ingredients as well as the taste and price.

Price leader

  • $ = under $ 10
  • $$ = $ 10 to $ 20
  • $$$ = over $ 20

There are many great mouthwashes out there, and this list is by no means exhaustive. We’ve added therapeutic mouthwashes that you can buy over the counter and some that a dentist needs to be prescribed for.

Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection

Price: $

The active ingredient in this mouthwash is cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), a broad spectrum antimicrobial agent that is effective against bad breath, tooth decay and diseases such as gingivitis and gum recession or bleeding gums.

It’s alcohol-free so it doesn’t burn. If you have a dry mouth or irritated areas, it’s a good choice. Users say they like the minty aftertaste it leaves.

This product may temporarily stain your teeth and require strategic brushing or regular cleaning in the dental office. If you have sensitive gums and can’t stand the burning sensation caused by other mouthwashes, this negative may be worth the tradeoff.

In a small number of people, the CPC ingredient can leave a taste in their mouth that they find unpleasant, or it can temporarily affect the taste of food. In these cases, you may want to consider a different mouthwash.

Crest Pro-Health Advanced with extra bleaching

Price: $

This product is alcohol free. It contains fluoride to fight cavities and hydrogen peroxide to remove surface stains and whiten teeth.

It also strengthens tooth enamel and kills the germs that are responsible for bad breath. Users find that it can take several months for the whitening results to appear.

ACT Total Care Anticavity Fluoride

Price: $

ACT Total Care is aluminum-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free and phthalate-free. Its active ingredient is fluoride, which makes it an effective choice for reducing tooth decay, strengthening tooth enamel, and promoting healthy gums.

This mouthwash comes in two flavors: one with 11 percent alcohol and the other without alcohol. Check the list of inactive ingredients.

ACT dry mouth

Price: $

ACT mouthwash with dry mouth is alcohol-free and does not sting. It is very effective in reducing dry mouth for many hours after use. It also contains fluoride, which makes it an effective cavity fighter.

In this mouthwash, xylitol is listed as an inactive ingredient. Xylitol increases the amount of saliva in the mouth and reduces S. mutans bacteria, which cause plaque to form on teeth.

For best dry mouth results, follow the instructions on the package exactly and hold ACT Dry Mouth in your mouth for at least 1 minute. Many users report that this mouthwash tastes great, which makes this task pretty easy.

Colgate Total Pro-Shield

Price: $

This mouthwash has a mild peppermint flavor and an alcohol-free formula. Its active ingredient is cetylpyridinium chloride. Colgate Total Pro-Shield is a great choice for reducing plaque build-up and keeping breath fresh.

It kills germs for up to 12 hours, including after eating. This mouthwash is a great choice for getting rid of the germs and bacteria that cause gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal disease and gum disease.

Listerine Cool Mint Antiseptic

Price: $

The active ingredients in Listerine Antiseptic are menthol, thymol, eucalyptol and methyl salicylate. Together with their alcohol base, these essential oils create an intense, minty tingling sensation that is pleasant for some users but too strong for others.

The essential oils in Listerine Antiseptic have antimicrobial properties which make them very effective at reducing plaque, gingivitis, gum recession and bad breath.

TheraBreath Fresh Breath

Price: $$

TheraBreath is alcohol-free and antibacterial. It reduces sulfur-producing bacteria in the mouth and even eliminates severe bad breath for up to 1 day.

Its active ingredients include peppermint oil, citric acid, castor oil, tetrasodium edta, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chlorite, and sodium benzoate. Some people find that TheraBreath temporarily changes their taste buds.

CloSYS Ultra Sensitive

Price: $$

This alcohol-free mouthwash is a great choice if you have sensitive teeth. It’s also great for getting rid of bad breath. It uses chlorine dioxide, an oxidizing agent, to eradicate sulfur-producing bacteria in the mouth.

Peridex prescription mouthwash

Price: $$$

Peridex is only available with a prescription from a pharmacy or your dental practice.

Peridex is a brand of medicated mouthwash commonly known as a chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash.

Prices vary depending on the recipe plan. You may be able to buy generic chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash at a lower cost than the brand name.

Other brand names are Perisol, Periogard, and Paroex.

Peridex is a prescription germicidal mouthwash used to treat gingivitis and gum disease such as: B. bleeding, swelling and redness. It kills bacteria in the mouth.

Peridex is not for everyone and can cause side effects such as tooth discoloration, tartar formation, mouth irritation and a decreased ability to taste food and drinks. It can also cause allergic reactions, which in some people are sometimes severe or life-threatening.

There are two types of mouthwashes: cosmetic and therapeutic.

Cosmetic mouthwashes temporarily control bad breath and leave a pleasant taste in the mouth.

Therapeutic mouthwashes contain ingredients that cause a long-lasting bacterial reduction and can be used in diseases such as gum disease, gingivitis, dry mouth and plaque formation. They can be obtained without a prescription and without a prescription.

What do you want your mouthwash for?

The first thing to consider when choosing a mouthwash is your personal oral health goals.

  • Bad breath. If your main concern is bad breath, using a cosmetic mouthwash on the go during the day can be enough to boost your confidence during this important afternoon get-together.
  • Dry mouth. If you are on medication or have a condition that causes dry mouth as a side effect, using a mouthwash that is comfortable to use for many hours at the same time may be your best bet.
  • Plaque or gum problems. Other conditions such as plaque build-up, gum recession and gingivitis can be corrected by choosing mouthwashes that contain fluoride or those with other active substances that fight bacteria.

Other considerations

  • Price per ounce. Cost can be another factor to consider. Take a look at the price and the number of fluid ounces each bottle of mouthwash contains. Packaging can sometimes be deceiving. Buying larger bottles or in bulk can sometimes lower the price per ounce and make the mouthwash cheaper in the long run.
  • ADA seal of approval. Check the mouthwash label for the ADA seal of approval. It means it has been tested for effectiveness. Not every mouthwash has it, even some with well-known names.

It is important to look carefully at the list of ingredients. Many products contain multiple ingredients that target specific medical conditions or general dental health. Some ingredients to look for in mouthwash are:

  • Fluoride. This ingredient combats tooth decay and strengthens tooth enamel.
  • Cetyl pyridinium chloride. This eliminates bad breath and kills bacteria.
  • Chlorhexidine. This will reduce plaque and control gingivitis.
  • Essential oils. Some mouthwashes contain compounds found in essential oils, such as menthol (peppermint), eucalyptus, and thymol (thyme), which have antifungal and antibacterial properties
  • Carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. This ingredient makes teeth white.

Using the right mouthwash can support dental health and make your smile the most radiant. Mouthwash can reach parts of your mouth that brushing and flossing may miss. This makes it an effective tool for treating conditions such as:

Unless specifically designed for young children, most mouthwashes are intended for people aged 6 and over. Children over 6 years of age who may swallow mouthwash should be supervised during use.

Before buying mouthwash for your child, it is a good idea to check with the dentist.

Mouthwash containing alcohol may not be suitable for people trying to avoid alcohol.

Mouthwash can be used to control bad breath and reduce cavities. It can also help fight conditions like gum disease, gingivitis, dry mouth, and plaque buildup.

Mouthwash should be used in addition to brushing and flossing. It is important to use an ADA approved mouthwash.

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