Table of Contents
- How Mouthwash Works
- The Benefits of Using Mouthwash
- Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic Mouthwash?
- What to Look for in a Mouthwash
- Best Mouthwashes
- 1. Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse
- 2. Therabreath Fresh Breath Mouthwash
- 3. Act Restoring Mouthwash
- 4. SmartMouth Alcohol-Free Mouthwash
- 5. Colgate Total Gum Health Mouthwash
- Best Antibacterial Mouthwash Wrap Up
Swishing around mouthwash is becoming just as much a part of people’s oral hygiene routine as brushing and flossing. Mouthwash is great not only for freshening your breath but also killing harmful bacteria in your mouth. This article will give you all the knowledge you need regarding mouthwash.
How Mouthwash Works
There are two kinds of mouthwash: alcoholic and alcohol-free. Alcoholic mouthwash kills bacteria with its large concentration of alcohol. Bacteria can’t withstand the sanitizing force of alcohol, so products like traditional Listerine can clear out almost 100% of oral bacteria on just the alcohol alone.
Alcohol-free mouthwash, however, has to rely on other ingredients to kill bacteria. Some products use a type of chloride, for example, to kill bacteria. There are numerous benefits to using non-alcoholic mouthwash (as we’ll discuss below) that should be considered when purchasing mouthwash.
The Benefits of Using Mouthwash
Why should you use mouthwash, anyway? Well, there are a few reasons that might merit using mouthwash. For one, mouthwash could help prevent tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when tooth enamel breaks down, and it is naturally-occurring oral bacteria that cause enamel to break down. Bacteria in our mouth feed on the minerals in our enamel. Normally, these “bad” bacteria are kept in check by the “good” bacteria in our mouth, but sometimes your diet or improper oral care can cause the balance to shift out of whack, leading to a boom in the bad bacteria population. Mouthwash kills off those bad bacteria (as well as the good, unfortunately) and restores the proper balance of bacteria in your mouth. Hence, mouthwash can reduce tooth decay by killing off harmful bacteria.
Mouthwash also improves your breath, which is probably the most prevalent draw to using it. Bad breath, or halitosis, is caused by an excess of bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria release a sulfurous stench as they multiply on our teeth or on the back of our tongue, and the odor gets worse as the population grows. When the mouthwash kills off the bacteria, it takes out the odor as well.
Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic Mouthwash?
Does it make a difference if the mouthwash is alcoholic or non-alcoholic? Ultimately, it’s your choice, but there are some important differences to note. Many people probably believe that alcoholic mouthwash cleans better than non-alcoholic wash, but that may not necessarily be the case. Any difference in cleaning power between alcoholic and non-alcoholic mouthwash is negligible. In all reality, any mouthwash, alcoholic or not, is probably going to clean 99% of the bacteria out of your mouth, no more no less.
Alcoholic mouthwash, however, could potentially be harmful to your mouth if overused. Alcohol is a pretty powerful substance, and some studies have found that it may damage your mouth’s mucosa membrane, the thin, moist layer that coats the inside of your mouth. This mucosa membrane helps maintain a healthy environment in your mouth. Some studies also suggest that a damaged mucosa membrane could lead to higher risk for oral cancer, but studies are not definitive.
Alcohol also inhibits saliva production. Saliva acts as a natural sanitizing agent, washing away and limiting the growth of tooth-eating bacteria. So when you wash your mouth with an alcoholic mouthwash, you may experience dry mouth for a period of time, and dry mouth brings with it a host of oral problems. Dry mouth can lead to a greater amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth since there is no saliva to wash away the bad bacteria. Since alcoholic mouthwash could lead to mouthwash, using it could leave you at greater risk for enamel decay and, ironically, bad breath.
Finally, alcoholic mouthwash may throw off the bacteria balance in your mouth. Yes, alcohol is incredibly effective at killing harmful bacteria in your mouth. However, alcohol can’t differentiate between the harmful bacteria in your mouth and the helpful bacteria. Alcoholic mouthwash will help your mouth by killing bad bacteria while hurting your mouth by killing the good bacteria.
What to Look for in a Mouthwash
So what should you be looking for in a good mouthwash? The primary thing you need to note is the active ingredients. As the previous section suggests, alcoholic vs. non-alcoholic mouthwash is an important question to ask yourself. However, note that some mouthwashes will claim that alcohol is not an “active” ingredient but still have alcohol in them. “Active ingredient” is a fuzzy distinction that doesn’t always mean what you think.
A lot of mouthwashes use chemicals that aren’t necessarily good for your mouth. For example, a lot of mouthwashes use the chemical Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) to make the mouthwash foam. Despite what we might think, foaming doesn’t really make a product more effective. In fact, foaming has little to no effect on the efficacy of a mouthwash; it’s mostly for show.
However, SLS can have a negative impact on our oral health. Like alcohol, SLS is a desiccant (i.e. a substance that causes drying), so mouthwashes with SLS may cause some degree of dry mouth. If you can, try to find a mouthwash that does not use chemicals like SLS.
Without further ado, here are some of the best mouthwashes to use for all your oral health needs:
Biotene is a great brand that is usually associated with its dry mouth remedies. However, it’s for that dry mouth treatment that Biotene’s mouthwash is a great product. Biotene’s mouthwash gives you all of the benefits of a mouthwash without the drawbacks. This mouthwash is non-alcoholic, so you’ll get a clean mouth without the increased risk of dry mouth. In fact, sufferers of chronic dry mouth will actually see a relief from their symptoms while using this mouthwash. The mouthwash is specially designed to moisturize your mouth after each use, helping to keep your saliva production up while giving your helpful oral bacteria room to grow.
Therabreath makes another great moutwash to consider adding to your bathroom arsenal. Therabreath is specially designed to maintain a healthy PH balance in your mouth. That is, Therabreath helps neutralize acids in your mouth, most of which come from the food we eat, in order to reduce enamel erosion. Acid eats away at the hard outer shell of our teeth, so high concentrations of acid will soften the enamel and make it easier to be eaten by bacteria or scraped off in brushing. Therabreath counteracts this acidity in order to keep our tooth enamel tough.
This mouthwash is especially good at fighting bad breath. It is among the highest selling mouthwashes online, and that’s because it can eliminate bad breath for hours and hours. This mouthwash is great to use before bed because it protects your mouth when it produces the least saliva (at night), which ultimately limits the dreaded morning breath.
Unlike many other mouthwashes, this mouthwash is specifically designed to strengthen your teeth. Act Restoring Mouthwash contains ingredients that promote the remineralization of our teeth. Over the course of the day, our tooth enamel loses and regains essential nutrients that keep our enamel strong. This mouthwash replaces many of the minerals our teeth lose, which makes our enamel stronger and less sensitive. This mouthwash, therefore, is a key player in preventing tooth decay and cavities from developing, which saves you time, money, and comfort.
SmartMouth Mouthwash is probably the most creative of the mouthwashes listed. This product comes with two bottles, two separate parts of the mouthwash. Immediately before rinsing with the wash, you are supposed to mix some of the product from each bottle, thereby maximizing the release of the key ingredients.
Because it’s alcohol-free, this mouthwash won’t sting like we expect mouthwash to, so you’ll certainly enjoy using this mouthwash on a regular basis. The producers of this product also guarantee a 12-hour threshold for bad breath protection.
Twelve hours without bad breath is a pretty impressive feat, so don’t overlook this product when you pass it at the store.
Colgate Total Gum Health Mouthwash promises to give extra attention to your gums while you use it. Proper gum health is crucial to oral health, so if you’ve experienced inflammation, bleeding, or problems with your gums, you may want to consider this product. This product will also help prevent the onset of periodontitis, gum disease.
Best Antibacterial Mouthwash Wrap Up
Mouthwash is an incredibly popular dental health product, so there are countless options out there to choose from. When you choose a mouthwash, consider the risks that certain ingredients have on your overall oral health. Choose wisely the product you use, especially if you intend to wash your mouth every day. When used correctly, mouthwash can be a vital component of your oral hygiene routine. It kills bacteria, freshens breath, and in some instances strengthens teeth. So, consider adding mouthwash to your health-related inventory. If you do, you’ll have a brighter smile, more pleasant breath, and a happier disposition. Now that you know the low-down of mouthwash, don’t hesitate to grab yourself a bottle today!