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The Best Mouthwash

🕚 Updated September 2022

Many great types of mouthwash are available, from fighting gingivitis to freshening breath to even helping with a dry mouth. Here are some of our favorite mouthwashes to support oral hygiene and help make your breath smell better than ever.

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  Best Overall Best Travel Sized Best Alcohol-Free Best for Dry Mouth Best for Kids
Freshburst Antiseptic Mouthwash
Fresh Breath Dentist-Formulated Oral Rinse
Pro-Health Advanced Mouthwash
Oral Rinse Mouthwash
Kids Anticavity Fluoride Rinse
Our SummaryThis refreshing mouthwash gives you cleaner teeth with a reduced risk of gum disease and plaque.This travel-sized six-pack is great for fighting a range of mouth odors, with a formula that lasts up to 24 hours.This product helps you have stronger and brighter teeth with a minty flavor.A sugar-free formula that freshens your breath and alleviates dry mouth symptoms for hours.This mouthwash for kids encourages starting good oral hygiene habits at an early age.
Pros✓ Formulated to prevent plaque
✓ Fights early gum disease, bad breath, and up to 99% of bad germs
✓ No alcohol, artificial colors, or flavors
✓ 100% vegan
✓ Fresh breath for up to 24 hours
✓ Fights bacteria
✓ Great for travel
✓ Alcohol-free
✓ Kills bad-breath germs
✓ Safely whitens teeth
✓ Helps prevent cavities
✓ Strengthens enamel
✓ Has mint flavor
✓ Provides immediate relief for dry-mouth
✓ pH balanced
✓ Alcohol- and sugar-free, ✓ Lasts for hours
✓ Has mint flavor
✓ Bubble gum flavor
✓ Anticavity fluoride
✓ Strengthens teeth
✓ No alcohol burn
ConsX Bottles are smaller than expectedX May be an aftertasteX Not suitable for those who are sensitive to hydrogen peroxideX Doesn’t include a cup for measuring productX Cap is not childproof
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The Best Mouthwash

Close-up of a man's hand pouring mouthwash into a cap.

Buying Guide for Mouthwash

A young girl using blue mouthwash.
White bear studio/Shutterstock.com

Why buy mouthwash?

Using quality mouthwash is a great way to protect your oral health. Many types are truly effective at killing bacteria, whitening teeth, and freshening breath. A mouthwash can help prevent gum disease and cavities and provide relief from morning breath. The best mouthwashes also destroy plaque and fight stains on your teeth’s surface to help your smile look its best.

What should you look for in mouthwash?

  • Alcohol (Burn): If you’re someone who likes to feel your mouthwash working and who doesn’t have any mouth sensitivities, a typical alcohol mouthwash will work just fine. If you don’t like the tingle left over from alcohol mouthwashes or have a sensitive mouth, there are plenty of milder options that still provide you with a deep clean.
  • Solution: From whitening to dry mouth relief to antiseptic to fighting bad breath, there are multiple solutions on the market. Choose one that has the elements most important to you.
  • Adult vs. Kids: Adult mouthwash is sometimes too harsh for kids, especially if they’re just starting to use it. A kid’s formula will be milder while still helping to get their teeth cleaner (and it’s sometimes much safer if accidentally swallowed).

Should you rinse your mouth with water after using mouthwash?

It’s recommended that you don’t rinse your mouth with water after brushing or using mouthwash because it can eliminate the benefits you’re hoping to get from using the product. For example, many toothpaste and mouthwash brands include beneficial additives such as fluoride that need time to function most effectively. Swishing your mouth with water immediately after using a mouthwash will send the mineral down the drain instead of in your mouth where it’s needed.

Our Picks for the Best Mouthwash

Best Overall

Listerine Freshburst Antiseptic Mouthwash

This refreshing mouthwash gives you cleaner teeth with a reduced risk of gum disease and plaque.

Pros: This product is specially designed to give you fresh breath and keep your mouth healthy and clean. This mouthwash is made to prevent plaque while also fighting early gum disease and bad breath. It also effectively kills up to 99% of bad germs. Swish your mouthwash twice a day for 30 seconds to experience a minty-fresh, just-dentist-cleaned feeling.

Cons: Seasoned buyers of this Listerine mouthwash may feel that the bottles in this set of two are smaller than expected, at 500 milliliters. Just for reference, a standard-sized bottled water is equivalent to the size of one of these Listerine bottles at 500 milliliters, or 16.9 ounces.

Bottom Line: Listerine is a trusted brand in germ-killing mouth rinses. This set of two may be for you if you are a fan of this dentist-recommended brand. Remember that these aren’t the very large bottles you may see on store shelves, but this can be a plus if you need to save space or take the product with you while traveling.


Best Travel Sized

TheraBreath Fresh Breath Dentist-Formulated Oral Rinse

This travel-sized six-pack is great for fighting a range of mouth odors, with a formula that lasts up to 24 hours.

Pros: This 100% vegan mouthwash is made without alcohol, with no artificial colors or flavors, and with a mild mint flavor. This dentist-formulated oral rinse doesn’t burn while giving you fresh breath for up to 24 hours. The ingredients in the mouthwash help fight the bacteria that cause bad breath and help eliminate any sour, bitter, or even metallic taste in your mouth. And as a bonus, this pack of six three-ounce bottles is the perfect size for frequent travelers.

Cons: Although this mouthwash boasts a mild flavor while you’re swishing and gargling it, you may experience an aftertaste that may last for some time after use.

Bottom Line: If you don’t like the alcohol burn that some mouthwashes inflict on users, TheraBreath might be a good alternative. It’s safe to use every day, and the convenient package of six small bottles is good to have available to grab and go when prepping for travel.


Best Alcohol-Free

Crest Pro-Health Advanced Mouthwash

This product helps you have stronger and brighter teeth with a minty flavor.

Pros: This alcohol-free mouthwash is made to kill bad-breath germs and safely whiten and strengthen your teeth. This mouthwash can help prevent cavities and strengthen your enamel, all with an energizing mint flavor.

Cons: Hydrogen peroxide is pretty high on this mouthwash’s ingredient list. If you’re sensitive to the taste of peroxide, this may not be the mouthwash for you.

Bottom Line: This mouthwash from Crest is an excellent choice for those who are looking for whitening, freshening, and protection. And since it’s alcohol-free, you can get all these benefits without burning your mouth.


Best for Dry Mouth

Biotene Oral Rinse Mouthwash

This sugar-free formula that freshens your breath and alleviates dry mouth symptoms for hours.

Pros: This product is designed to provide immediate relief to dry mouth symptoms while also helping you to maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth. Alcohol- and sugar-free, this wash helps lubricate the mouth and can ease a dry mouth for hours, giving you fresh breath with a mint flavor.

Cons: The instructions require measuring out one tablespoon of product for each use, but it doesn’t provide a dosing device. Some may find it frustrating to find a measuring spoon or cup with each dose.

Bottom Line: For those who suffer from dry mouth, sticky saliva, or a sore throat, this oral rinse may be what’s needed to get relief. You may want to have a measuring cup or spoon handy to measure the product when needed.


Best for Kids

ACT Kids Anticavity Fluoride Rinse

This mouthwash for kids encourages starting good oral hygiene habits at an early age.

Pros: With a kid-approved bubble gum flavor, this anticavity fluoride mouthwash is proven to help strengthen teeth and give kids a proper amount of fluoride. They only need to use this rinse once a day to get the benefits. This product has no alcohol burn, only fresh flavor and extra-clean teeth and mouths.

Cons: Although this kids’ mouthwash bottle features a dosing control top, the cap is not entirely childproof. It may be wise to keep the bottle out of kids’ reach so they won’t ingest it.

Bottom Line: This tasty mouthwash can encourage your kids to start taking responsibility for their dental health in a fun way. In addition to the featured bubblegum flavor, this oral rinse is available in pineapple, watermelon, and grape flavors.

Final Thoughts

The value and benefits of using a quality mouthwash are numerous. Not only can it fortify your teeth with fluoride, whiten your smile, relieve dry mouth, and help kids with oral care—it can also help reduce cavities, gum disease, plaque buildup, and bad breath. We’ve considered mouthwashes that meet each of these criteria and more. We’re sure one of our picks will be a great addition to your dental hygiene routine.

Alesha Billie Alesha Billie
Alesha Billie is a momma to three kiddos (unless we count the furry ones) who has been writing and researching for over 15 years. After a start as a romance ghostwriter, she's written countless full-length novels in addition to articles, blog posts, advertorials, memoirs, and eBooks. Read Full Bio »
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