Your Guide to Mouthwashes
All mouthwashes may seem the same, but there are actually many different types available. Here is a quick guide to the different kinds of mouthwashes to help to choose the best one for your oral health needs:
Cosmetic: These mouthwashes only help to temporarily reduce bad breath and leave a pleasant taste in the mouth. They do not do anything to treat the underlying cause of bad breath such as kill bacteria, reduce plaque, gingivitis or cavities.
Therapeutic: These are the mouthwashes that will kill the bacteria that cause bad breath, reduce plaque and help to protect against gum disease and tooth decay. They are regulated by the FDA and can apply for a seal from the American Dental Association, which certifies that the mouthwash works as labeled. Most therapeutic mouthwashes are labeled as antiseptic and contain can contain as much as 25% alcohol, however there are therapeutic mouthwashes on the market that are alcohol-free. Therapeutic mouthwashes may also be labeled as total care or advanced care.
Fluoride: Fluoride rinses help to strengthen the enamel of teeth. These are a good option for those who are cavity prone or do not get enough fluoride from drinking water (either because they live in an area that does not have a fluorinated water supply or because they drink mainly bottled water).
Remember, mouthwash should just be one part of your oral health routine and should not replace daily brushing and flossing.