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How Do I Choose the Best Mouth Rinse?

Selecting the best mouth rinse hinges on your dental needs—whether it's for cavity prevention, fresher breath, or gum health. Look for ADA-approved products, consider fluoride content for tooth protection, and alcohol-free options if you have a sensitive mouth. What specific benefits are you seeking in a mouth rinse? Let's examine how your personal oral care goals should guide your choice.
Andrea Cross
Andrea Cross

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.

Mouth rinse.
Mouth rinse.

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.

Someone with bad breath should use mouth washes on a daily basis.
Someone with bad breath should use mouth washes on a daily basis.

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.

Sodium bicarbonate can be used to make natural mouth rinses at home.
Sodium bicarbonate can be used to make natural mouth rinses at home.

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.

Those with mouth or dental injuries often choose simple salt water as a mouth rinse.
Those with mouth or dental injuries often choose simple salt water as a mouth rinse.

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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    • Mouth rinse.
      By: design56
      Mouth rinse.
    • Someone with bad breath should use mouth washes on a daily basis.
      By: studiovespa
      Someone with bad breath should use mouth washes on a daily basis.
    • Sodium bicarbonate can be used to make natural mouth rinses at home.
      By: Franny-Anne
      Sodium bicarbonate can be used to make natural mouth rinses at home.
    • Those with mouth or dental injuries often choose simple salt water as a mouth rinse.
      By: MediablitzImages
      Those with mouth or dental injuries often choose simple salt water as a mouth rinse.
    • A salt water rinse should consist of a small amount of salt dissolved in warm water.
      By: Meliha Gojak
      A salt water rinse should consist of a small amount of salt dissolved in warm water.
    • An anticavity mouth rinse can prevent cavities.
      By: yanmingzhang
      An anticavity mouth rinse can prevent cavities.
    • An individual with bulimia may experience persistent bad breath.
      By: Sylvie Bouchard
      An individual with bulimia may experience persistent bad breath.