Mouthwash fights bad breath, but it can also strengthen your teeth, guard against cavities, and kill bacteria that can cause gum disease. To choose the right one for your dental hygiene, look for these ingredients:
- Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC): This antimicrobial agent kills the germs that cause bad breath. It also guards against tooth decay and gingivitis.
- Fluoride: There’s no better cavity-fighting agent on the market. Fluoride also strengthens tooth enamel and keeps gums healthy.
- Hydrogen peroxide: A common ingredient in dental products, H2O2 whitens teeth over time safely and effectively.
- Xylitol: If you have chronic dry mouth because of a medical condition or medication, this ingredient causes the mouth to salivate, which helps wash out bacteria that cause plaque.
- Menthol, thymol, and/or eucalyptol: These active ingredients are terpenes found in many Listerine mouthwashes, contributing to the tingling sensation this brand produces. They come from natural essential oils that have strong antimicrobial ability, killing germs that create plaque, receding gums, and gingivitis, as well as bad breath.
Finally, if you don’t like the burning sensation that some mouthwashes cause, choose one that does not contain alcohol. Ingredients like CPC are just as effective at fighting bacteria as alcohol, without irritating your teeth, tongue, and gums.