In addition to at-home oral care and routine teeth cleanings, mouthwash is an integral part of your oral health routine.
A quick 30-second rinse can help prevent plaque buildup, gingivitis, bad breath, and cavities. It also provides cosmetic benefits like whiter teeth.
There are many types of mouthwash available. However, this can make it difficult to determine which mouth rinse is best for you.
To make the decision easier, the NewMouth health team has compiled a list of the best choices in each category of mouthwash. All of our picks have the ADA Seal of Acceptance (from the American Dental Association). They have also been approved by a licensed dentist.
It's essential to pay attention to the active ingredient(s) in mouthwash. These ingredients have different effects on your mouth and can help treat a variety of dental conditions.
The active ingredient is cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), which is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent. This means it fights bad breath, tooth decay, gingivitis, receding gums, and bleeding gums.
It’s also alcohol-free, so it’s safe for anyone with dry mouth and doesn’t burn your gums.
If you’re looking for a simple solution to enhance your overall oral hygiene, this is a great choice.
Delmopinol hydrochloride is the main ingredient in this unique mouthwash. It’s the only mouthwash that the FDA classifies as a Class II medical device, rather than an “over-the-counter drug.”
Delmopinol hydrochloride can prevent plaque and bacteria from attaching to your teeth, making it our top choice for an anti-gingivitis mouthwash. It also is excellent at fighting and preventing plaque.
A dentist made this mouthwash for his daughter, who suffered from halitosis (bad breath).
Sodium chlorite is an oxygenating ingredient that specifically targets and kills bad breath bacteria.
There’s no alcohol, artificial flavors, or artificial colors. It’s been clinically proven to freshen breath for up to 24 hours.
Colgate Optic White Whitening Mouthwash contains 2 percent Hydrogen Peroxide. This can slightly help remove surface stains.
However, whitening results from mouth rinse alone will not be as effective as an LED whitening kit or Whitestrips.
Because it does help prevent new stains, whitening mouthwash is best used in addition to another whitening product.
Best Mouthwash for Dry Mouth
If you suffer from dry mouth it’s important to choose an alcohol-free mouthwash that contains xylitol.
Xylitol increases saliva production, while alcohol can dry out your mouth and make your symptoms worse (it also can cause a burning sensation in your gums and tongue).
ACT Dry Mouth checks both of these boxes and can help prevent dry mouth symptoms for hours after rinsing.
Best Anticavity Mouthwash
A good anticavity mouthwash must have fluoride in it. Listerine Total Care is a great anticavity fluoride mouth rinse that fights tooth decay, strengthens your tooth enamel, and freshens your breath.
Be sure to brush your teeth before using (to remove plaque) and don’t eat or drink anything for at least half an hour after using it. This is so that the fluoride can fully coat and soak into your enamel.
Best Mouthwash for Sensitive Teeth
If you have sensitive teeth, your mouthwash should be alcohol-free and strengthen your enamel and dentin. Enamel erosion and dentin exposure are the most common causes of tooth sensitivity.
ACT Total Care Sensitive mouthwash has gentle cleaning properties. Plus, it has sodium fluoride as its active ingredient, which will help strengthen your enamel.
Best Fluoride Mouthwash
ACT Restoring Anticavity Fluoride rinse contains sodium fluoride and can work to prevent and even repair minor cavities.
This special alcohol-free mint flavor formula means you have to be a bit more careful than other mouthwashes.
Directions say to use 10 milliliters (as opposed to 20) three or four times a week.
Best Natural Mouthwash
JASON Healthy Mouth mouthwashes have no artificial colors, parabens, GMOs, sulfates, gluten, petrolatum, or animal products.
Their blend of essential oils and natural ingredients includes tea tree oil — known for its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.
Other ingredients include cinnamon oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, and grapefruit seed extract to clean, protect, and freshen your mouth.
All medical content on this site, including this guide and other product reviews, is written by our team of experienced writers and researchers. All NewMouth writers vet products that are recommended and reviewed in the industry.
In cases where this is not possible, our team will:
Every piece of content is heavily reviewed before publication. All content on NewMouth is also medically reviewed by a licensed dentist, specifically any content where we recommend products.
Our dentists are specifically instructed to flag any recommendations they don’t agree with. Any products that don’t meet their professional standards are removed.
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.
When we recommend products that do not include this seal of acceptance, we conduct further research to ensure reputability. This may include speaking with company leaders, reading hundreds of customer reviews, and ensuring they provide quality customer service.
Mouthwashes offer additional benefits by reducing the risk of bad breath, cavities, gum disease, and can help treat dry mouth and pain from oral sores.
Yes, therapeutic mouthwashes can help control and reduce plaque and gingivitis. However, it may require additional treatment.
Be sure to talk to your dentist if you think you may be at risk for gum disease.
Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection mouthwash kills 99% of bacteria that causes plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath.
Karadas, Muhammet, and Omer Hatipoglu. “Efficacy of Mouthwashes Containing Hydrogen Peroxide on Tooth Whitening.” TheScientificWorldJournal vol. 2015 (2015): 961403. doi:10.1155/2015/961403
Dodwad, Vidya, and Bhavna Jha Kukreja. “Propolis mouthwash: A new beginning.” Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology vol. 15,2 (2011): 121-5. doi:10.4103/0972-124X.84379
Sabau, Raluca, et al. “Effect of Essential Oil Mouthwash on Halitosis.” Revista De Chimie, vol. 68, no. 3, 2017, pp. 518–421., doi:10.37358/rc.17.3.5492.
Ouhayoun, J.-P. “Penetrating the Plaque Biofilm: Impact of Essential Oil Mouthwash.” Journal of Clinical Periodontology, vol. 30, no. s5, 2003, pp. 10–12., doi:10.1034/j.1600-051x.30.s5.4.x.
“Herbal Products as Mouthwash.” International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), vol. 6, no. 7, 2017, pp. 1334–1337., doi:10.21275/art20175623, https://www.ijsr.net/archive/v6i7/v6i7_01.php
Yaghini, Jaber, et al. “Gingival Inflammatory Indices and Dental Stain Index after Using Aloe Vera-Green Tea Mouthwash, Matrica Mouthwash, or 0.2% Chlorhexidine Mouthwash Compared with Placebo in Patients with Gingival Inflammation.” The Open Dentistry Journal, vol. 13, no. 1, 2019, pp. 214–220., doi:10.2174/1874210601913010214.
Jeddy, Nadeem et al. “Comparison of the efficacy of herbal mouth rinse with commercially available mouth rinses: A clinical trial.” Journal of oral and maxillofacial pathology : JOMFP vol. 22,3 (2018): 332-334. doi:10.4103/jomfp.JOMFP_303_18