What You Should Look For When Buying Your Mouthwash

Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss are not the only tools we have for maintaining good oral health. Using mouthwash is also a regular ritual for many people, and for good reason. Many people use mouthwash to prevent bad breath, but that is not the only benefit that mouthwash has to offer.

While mouthwash is no replacement for flossing and brushing your teeth, it is a good supplement. Mouthwash has ingredients such as menthol, alcohol, and eucalyptol, which kill hard-to-reach bacteria in those small tricky spaces between our teeth (per Healthline). According to research, mouthwash is effective at reducing gingivitis and plaque.

Mouthwash is generally helpful, but there are all sorts of different formulas out there, and not every formula is equally suitable for everyone. Before you head to the store and just grab the cheapest mouthwash on the shelf, it's a good idea to learn about the components of different mouthwashes to determine which one would be best for you.

The best mouthwash depends on what sort of benefits you are looking for

Why do you want to buy mouthwash? If you want to freshen your breath, you may want to use cosmetic or antibacterial mouthwashes, depending on the severity of the problem. If you want to prevent dental or gum disease, consider mouthwash with antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiplaque, or anti-gingivitis ingredients (per Stonewalk Family Dentistry).

If you suffer from dry mouth, mouthwashes containing alcohol may exacerbate the problem. Seek alcohol-free mouthwashes instead. Adults should do the same when buying mouthwash that will be used by children. In addition, if you want to protect your child from cavities, you may want to get a mouthwash with fluoride. One study found that using mouthwash with fluoride reduced children's risk of cavities by over 50% (per Journal of Dental Research, Dental Clinics, Dental Prospects). However, mouthwash should not be used by children who are under six years of age.

The most important factor in choosing a mouthwash should be whether it has the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance. This seal affirms that any claims on the packaging have been tested and confirmed by the American Dental Association.

If you are still intimidated by all the options when it comes to picking a mouthwash, it may be helpful to ask your dentist for a recommendation. Your dentist is the one person who is most familiar with your unique oral health needs.