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In addition to your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and routine dental exams and cleanings, mouthwash is an integral part of your oral health routine. A quick 30-second rinse can help prevent plaque buildup, gingivitis, cavities, bacteria, and provide cosmetic benefits like better breath and whiter teeth.
There are so many types of mouthwash available it can be hard to know which mouth rinse is best for you. That’s why our NewMouth health team has compiled a list of the best choices for each type of mouthwash. All of our picks have the ADA Seal of Acceptance (American Dental Association) and approved by a licensed dentist.
The active ingredient(s) are the most important component of mouthwashes, as they will have different effects on your mouth.
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 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.
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.
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.
If you have sensitive teeth, your mouthwash should be alcohol-free and strengthen your enamel and dentin (erosion of enamel and exposure of dentin 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.
Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are active ingredients that whiten your teeth. Solimo Whitening mouthwash contains 3.0% hydrogen peroxide and is alcohol-free. It also contains ingredients that fight bad breath and protect your teeth. Plus, it’s one of the cheapest mouthwashes on our list!
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.
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, cinnamon oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, and grapefruit seed extract to clean, protect, and freshen your mouth.
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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