How Do I Choose the Best Mouth Rinse?

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  • Written By: Andrea Cross
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2020
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Choosing the best mouth rinse can be tricky due to the large number of brands and types available. Mouthwash can be divided into three main types including antibacterial, anticavity, and cosmetic rinses. You can also make mouth rinses at home. Choose a mouth rinse based on which function is most important to you.

Choose an antibacterial rinse if you want to prevent and reduce plaque and bacteria. This type of mouth rinse is also good if you want to prevent and reduce gingivitis and gum disease. The antiseptic action of these washes is due to ingredients such as methlysalicylate, benzoic acid, and eucalyptol. Alcohol is also used in antiseptic rinses, so it may be best to avoid this type if you find alcohol too abrasive or if the mouthwash is intended for use by children.

The alcohol can also be drying to your mouth, so if you still want to purchase an antibacterial mouthwash, you should choose an enzymatic rinse. This formula also helps to destroy bacteria, but it uses natural enzymes such as glucose oxidase instead of alcohol. A more gentle form of mouthwash, it helps to soothe sore areas in the mouth and keep it moisturized.


Choose an anticavity mouth rinse to prevent cavities. This type of rinse contains fluoride and inhibits bacteria from producing the acid that weakens teeth. These products are also intended to help strengthen teeth. You may not need to choose this type of wash if the toothpaste you use already contains fluoride. These rinses do not usually contain alcohol, which makes them better choices for children.

A cosmetic mouth rinse is a good choice if you are using the mouthwash mainly to prevent bad breath. Alcohol, astringents such as zinc chloride, and menthol all work to temporarily reduce bad breath. You can also purchase oxygenated rinses that reduce bad breath by suppressing the production of sulfur compounds by bacteria. There are also a number of mouthwashes that claim to combine all of these attributes into a single, "total" formula.

Rinses with natural ingredients, such as aloe vera, chamomile, and ginger are different choices and are better for sensitive mouths and if you want a formula that is sugar free. There are also a number of ingredients around the home that you can use to create your own mouth rise, including salt and sodium bicarbonate. Mixed with water, these ingredients can soothe your mouth and help it to heal if you have sores. They can also help to freshen breath.


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