Incorporating the use of a mouthwash into your at-home oral hygiene routine can be a great way to keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy, and your breath fresh.
But because there are so many different mouthwashes out there, how can you decide which one is right for you? Well, you can consider your specific needs and oral health goals, as well as the ingredients in various types of mouthwash, to narrow down your options.
Check out our short guide below as we break down the best mouthwash for you.
Bad breath is a common problem, so don’t feel bad if you find that you have some level of halitosis. You can work with your dentist to figure out the cause of your bad breath if it’s difficult to get rid of on your own. But the right mouthwash might be all you need to avoid embarrassment if a serious problem (like gum disease, for example) isn’t to blame.
A basic mouthwash, sometimes referred to as a cosmetic mouthwash, might be good enough to mask bad breath. However, an antibacterial mouthwash can go further by targeting the nasty bacteria that can lead to off-putting breath.
Speaking of gum disease, if you’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis or more advanced gum disease, a mouthwash might be part of your dentist’s recommendations. And using the right mouthwash might even help prevent gum problems before they develop or recur.
Mouthwashes that contain stronger ingredients, such as chlorhexidine, might be recommended if you need to combat existing gum problems or you’re at a greater risk of developing them.
On the other hand, if your aim is mainly to prevent gum issues, even if your risk is average or low, you might be just fine using mouthwashes that boast antibacterial, antiplaque, or antimicrobial benefits.
Tooth sensitivity is no fun at all. First, it’s a great idea to consult with your dentist to determine if your sensitivity is due to a problem like a cavity or an infection. Then, you can discuss toothpastes and mouthwashes that are designed for sensitive teeth.
The right mouthwash, when used consistently, might be able to reduce the amount of sensitivity that you experience. Your dentist may recommend one that includes ingredients that are capable of boosting the strength of your enamel, while also numbing the tubules in the dentin of your teeth.
When searching for a mouthwash made for sensitive teeth, you can look for ingredients like potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride, calcium phosphate, and potassium citrate.
Dry mouth has a range of causes, so once again, it’s a great idea to talk to your dentist to figure out what’s causing this uncomfortable condition. Then, you can search for a mouthwash that can help bring about some much-needed relief.
Anyone with dry mouth shouldn’t use a mouthwash that contains alcohol, as that ingredient can make your mouth even drier. Yikes! So the first step is to search for an alcohol-free mouthwash. If that isn’t enough, though, there are mouthwashes that are specifically made for those with dry mouth, such as products that contain xylitol.
Rather than shopping by condition, you can also shop for the right mouthwash by narrowing your choices down to the ingredients that you want to take advantage of, and the ones you want to avoid.
Fluoride: If your goal is to take an additional step towards keeping tooth decay at bay, a mouthwash that contains fluoride might be right for you because it can support strong enamel. But if you’re using a fluoride toothpaste, this might be overkill. Your dentist may only recommend fluoride mouthwash if you have a higher risk of cavities, if you have dry mouth, or if you wear orthodontics, as a few examples.
Hydrogen Peroxide: This is an antimicrobial ingredient that might help whiten your chompers and keep your gums healthy. Therefore, mouthwashes that contain this ingredient often claim that they can do things like whiten teeth and freshen breath.
Chlorhexidine: Your dentist might recommend a mouthwash containing this ingredient if you need something that will work on killing bacteria that could lead to gum disease. But if you want a mouthwash that will freshen your breath, this isn’t the best choice. It might cause side effects, so only use this type of mouthwash under the guidance of your dentist, and only use it as directed.
Shopping for the ideal mouthwash for your unique oral health needs involves a few steps. To start, have your teeth and gums examined by your dentist so you’ll know whether you need to go with a particular mouthwash to help prevent or treat certain conditions. And if your teeth are healthy, you can discuss your options with your dentist as well. After getting some professional advice, once you head to the store, it’s a matter of reading labels to check for claims and ingredients that match your needs.
Remember: just because you’re using mouthwash doesn’t mean you can skip brushing and flossing. Instead, this is a product that’s meant to be used in combination with other simple daily steps that can help keep your pearly whites bright and your gums strong.