Safest Teeth Whiteners
The safest ways to whiten your teeth explained
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Everything We Recommend
Best Overall (Editor's Pick) — Crest Pro-Health Multiprotection Rinse
Best for Teeth Whitening — Crest 3D Glamorous White
Best Anticavity — ACT Anticavity
Best for Dry Mouth — Biotène Dry Mouth Oral Rinse
Best for Sensitive Teeth — CloSYS Ultra Sensitive
Best for Gum Disease — Listerine 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.
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:
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.
According to Dr. Aggarwal, you should look for the following ingredients in a quality mouthwash:
Note: A mouthwash doesn’t need to contain all of these ingredients to be effective.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
CloSYS Ultra Sensitive mouthwash is designed for sensitive mouths. The pH-balanced formula contains only four ingredients:
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.”
Dr. Aggarwal recommends Listerine Ultraclean for fighting gum disease. Listerine products generally use antibacterial and antifungal compounds derived from essential oils. These include:
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.
|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.
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.
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