What Are the Different Types of Mouthwash Products?

Some mouthwash brands are designed to whiten teeth.
Most people use mouthwash for halitosis, or bad breath, caused mostly by the action of bacteria on plaque deposits or particles.
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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2014
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Many people make the use of mouthwash products part of their daily dental hygiene routine. There are a number of different types of mouthwash products designed to combat different issues. Some are simply cosmetic mouthwashes designed to fight bad breath, while others may contain antiseptic ingredients designed to actually fight plaque and kill bacteria. Fluoride mouthwashes contain extra amounts of fluoride for people who may need this extra boost, if a dentist has recommended it, because their teeth seem weak or more susceptible to cavities. Mouthwash is typically intended to be used as a final step in the dental hygiene process, after brushing and flossing.

Cosmetic mouthwash products are slightly different, and may be used at any point throughout the day. These typically do not contain any antiseptic ingredients, and are solely intended to be used to mask bad breath odors. They typically just have a slight minty flavor, and a quick rinse after lunch may be able to get rid of these odors. They do not offer any actual benefits to the mouth and teeth, however.


Antiseptic mouthwashes are some of the most common types of mouthwash products. These include ingredients such as alcohol, though some newer mouthwashes are now alcohol-free, that kill germs in the mouth. This helps to prevent plaque buildup, as well as freshen the breath for a longer period of time. These mouthwash products are not intended to be used more than twice a day, after brushing in the morning and evening. This is because it can kill all the "good" bacteria in the mouth, and cause an overgrowth of yeast known as thrush, similar to a yeast infection.

Fluoride mouthwashes are another type, though these are less common. These should only be used under the care of a dentist, since most people get plenty of fluoride in their drinking water. Children, or people who are especially prone to tooth decay, might find that their dentist recommends a fluoride mouthwash to strengthen the teeth. Some people do choose to avoid this type of mouthwash and other forms of fluoride though though, because of concerns over effects it may have on the body.

Unlike all of these mouthwashes, which are used after brushing, another type of mouthwash is used before brushing to help whiten the teeth. These mouthwash products typically contain ingredients like baking soda and/or peroxide, and they are rinsed around the mouth for about a minute before brushing. Then, the toothbrush helps to clean and whiten the teeth with these extra ingredients. These vary in effectiveness, but some people find them to be an reliable way to maintain whitened teeth after more intensive treatments.


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