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Updated on September 18, 2022

Best Mouthwashes 2022

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Everything We Recommend

Best Overall (Editor's Pick)Crest Pro-Health Multiprotection Rinse

Best for Teeth WhiteningCrest 3D Glamorous White

Best AnticavityACT Anticavity

Best for Bad BreathTheraBreath Fresh Breath Oral Rinse

Best for Dry MouthBiotène Dry Mouth Oral Rinse

Best for Sensitive TeethCloSYS Ultra Sensitive

Best for Gum DiseaseListerine Ultraclean

Rinsing your mouth with an effective mouthwash can remove debris and help fight cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.

Some mouthwashes are specifically designed to target certain issues, such as halitosis (bad breath), dry mouth, or tooth stains. 

Mouthwashes have active ingredients in low concentrations to effectively address these issues without causing dental health issues. They’re combined with inactive ingredients like water and flavoring agents.

top view of dental floss picks dental floss and mouthwash

How We Rate and Review Products

All medical content on NewMouth, including this guide and other product reviews, is written by our team of experienced writers and researchers. All NewMouth writers vet products that industry experts recommend and review.

In cases where this is not possible, our team will:

  • Compare positive and negative product reviews
  • Talk to company leaders to ensure their products are safe and effective
  • Research costs to ensure customers get the best products at reasonable prices
  • Evaluate research studies to compare the pros and cons of each product

Editors and a licensed dentist review every article before publication, specifically any content where we recommend products.

If our dentists don’t agree with a product, we will not recommend it. Many of the products we recommend have the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. These products are proven to be effective in preventing gum disease, cavities, and other oral health conditions.

If we recommend products that do not have this seal, we conduct further in-depth research to ensure reputability. This may include speaking with company leaders, reading hundreds of customer reviews, and ensuring quality customer service from the company in question.

Ingredients to Look for in Mouthwash

According to Dr. Aggarwal, you should look for the following ingredients in a quality mouthwash:

  • Zinc – an important mineral that helps prevent bad breath (halitosis)
  • Fluoride – effective against cavities in low concentrations
  • Xylitol ⁠– a sugar alcohol that sweetens the taste of the mouthwash and helps prevent cavities
  • Calcium or calcium phosphate – helps remineralize enamel
  • Sodium bicarbonate – makes your mouth less acidic by increasing the oral pH
  • Chlorhexidine – a strong anti-plaque ingredient often found in medical-grade mouthwash

Note: A mouthwash doesn’t need to contain all of these ingredients to be effective.

Ingredients to Avoid in Mouthwash 

Dr. Aggarwal recommends avoiding mouthwashes containing alcohol (not including xylitol or sorbitol) or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).

Mouthwashes containing alcohol can cause a burning sensation. Alcohol also dries out your mouth, which can be a contributor to the development of cavities.

SLS is a surfactant and detergent found in many household and cosmetic products. When used in mouthwash, it can irritate your gums. Dr. Aggarwal says this can even lead to gum peeling and ulcers.

7 Best Mouthwashes (Dentist Picked) 

Crest ProHealth Mouthwash

Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection

Best Overall Mouthwash

Dr. Khushbu Aggarwal, one of NewMouth’s in-house dentists, recommends Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection as an optimal overall mouthwash.

Its active ingredient is 0.07% cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), an antiseptic compound. CPC kills oral bacteria and is effective at reducing gingivitis and plaque formation.1

It may cause temporary surface staining in a small number of people. According to Crest, this is caused by a buildup of dead bacteria on the teeth.2 It can be removed through good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly.

Crest Mouthwash

Crest 3D Glamorous White

Best Whitening Mouthwash

Crest 3D whitening mouthwash was shown in one study to noticeably whiten teeth.3 It contains hydrogen peroxide, which acts as a mild bleaching agent.

This mouthwash is alcohol-free, so it won’t sting or dry out your mouth. It will also freshen your breath. However, it doesn’t target plaque or cavities.

ACT Restoring Anticavity Fluoride Mint Burst Mouthwash

ACT Restoring Anticavity Fluoride

Best Anticavity

ACT Anticavity mouthwash contains a high concentration of fluoride, which can help prevent cavities. ACT also offers alcohol-free and whitening formulas of their cavity-fighting mouthwash.

This mouthwash is also available in different flavors, including mint and cinnamon. ACT Anticavity also has a bubblegum flavor intended specifically for kids. However, Dr. Aggarwal cautions that some flavors may be too strong for some people.

TheraBreath Oral Rinse

TheraBreath Fresh Breath Oral Rinse

Best Mouthwash for Bad Breath

This mouthwash is specifically formulated to fight bad breath using sodium chlorite, an oxidizer.

Bad breath is caused by anaerobic bacteria, which means they thrive without oxygen. TheraBreath kills those bacteria by providing oxygen.

TheraBreath is also vegan, kosher, and gluten- and alcohol-free.

Biotène Dry Mouth Oral Rinse

Biotène Dry Mouth Oral Rinse

Best Mouthwash for Dry Mouth

Biotène Dry Mouth Oral Rinse is alcohol- and sugar-free. It contains xylitol and sorbitol (both sugar alcohols), which moisturize the mouth, encourage saliva production, and provide a sweet flavor. Xylitol also helps fight oral bacteria.

This mouthwash uses glycerin as a moistening agent. However, this also gives it a “thick texture that may not be palatable for some,” according to Dr. Aggarwal.

Closus Ultra Sensitive Mouthwash

CloSYS Ultra Sensitive

Best Mouthwash for Sensitive Teeth 

CloSYS Ultra Sensitive mouthwash is designed for sensitive mouths. The pH-balanced formula contains only four ingredients: 

  • Water
  • Stabilized chlorine dioxide (what’s used to treat drinking water)
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Citric acid

This mouthwash comes flavor-free, with optional natural oil droppers that let you decide the flavor strength. It’s also ADA-approved for reducing bad breath.4 However, Dr. Aggarwal notes that CloSYS is “on the more costly side.”

However, Dr. Aggarwal notes that CloSYS is “on the more costly side.”

Listerine Ultraclean

Listerine Ultraclean

Best Mouthwash for Gum Disease

Dr. Aggarwal recommends Listerine Ultraclean for fighting gum disease. Listerine products generally use antibacterial and antifungal compounds derived from essential oils. These include:

  • Eucalyptol
  • Menthol
  • Thymol
  • Methyl salicylate

These compounds have strong minty flavors and are often used in food and drinks. They’ve also been shown to be effective at reducing the germs that cause plaque and gingivitis.5

Listerine Ultraclean comes in both alcohol-containing and alcohol-free formulations. However, Dr. Aggarwal warns that the compounds used in Listerine may cause a temporary burning sensation in the mouth, with or without alcohol.

Which Mouthwash is Right for You?

Mouthwash Best For Other Features Key Ingredient Estimated Cost
Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection Overall Fights plaque and gingivitis CPC $0.15/fl. oz.
$7 per 33.8-ounce bottle
Crest 3D Glamorous White Whitening Freshens breath Hydrogen peroxide $0.22/fl. oz.
$7 per 32-ounce bottle
ACT Anticavity Preventing cavities Freshens breath Fluoride $0.20/fl. oz.
$7 per 33.8-ounce bottle
TheraBreath Bad breath Good for sensitivity (no artificial colors or flavors) Sodium chlorite $0.48/fl. oz.
$15 for two 16-ounce bottles
Biotène Dry Mouth Dry mouth Freshens breath, fights cavities, balanced pH Xylitol, sorbitol, glycerin $0.29/fl. oz.
$10 per 33.8-ounce bottle
CloSYS Ultra Sensitive Sensitivity ADA-approved for bad breath, balanced pH Chlorine dioxide $0.36/fl. oz.$12 per 32-ounce bottle
Listerine Ultraclean Gum disease (but not ideal for sensitive mouths) Fights germs that cause plaque and bad breath Eucalyptol, menthol, thymol, methyl salicylate* $0.19/fl. oz.
$6-7 per 33.8-bottle

*May contain alcohol.

Summary

A good mouthwash is an important component of oral hygiene. It can help remove food debris and kill harmful oral bacteria and fungi.

Whether you have specific concerns, such as a sensitive mouth or gingivitis, or you just want a cost-effective option, NewMouth recommends considering these mouthwashes as part of your oral care routine.

8 Sources Cited
Last updated on September 18, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Haps, S. et al. "The effect of cetylpyridinium chloride-containing mouth rinses as adjuncts to toothbrushing on plaque and parameters of gingival inflammation: a systematic review." International Journal of Dental Hygiene, 2008.
  2. Crest. “Does Crest Pro-Health Rinse stain teeth brown?” 6 March 2016.
  3. Karadas, Muhammet, and Omer Hatipoglu. “Efficacy of Mouthwashes Containing Hydrogen Peroxide on Tooth Whitening.” TheScientificWorldJournal, 2015.
  4. American Dental Association. “CloSYS Oral Health Rinses.
  5. Mythri, H et al. “The efficacy of antiseptic mouth rinses in comparison with dental floss in controlling interproximal gingivitis.” Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, 2011.
  6. Vranić, Edina et al. “Formulation ingredients for toothpastes and mouthwashes.” Bosnian journal of basic medical sciences, 2004.
  7. Sabau, Raluca, et al. “Effect of Essential Oil Mouthwash on Halitosis.” Revista De Chimie, 2017.
  8. Ouhayoun, J.-P. “Penetrating the Plaque Biofilm: Impact of Essential Oil Mouthwash.” Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 2003.
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