What's the Best Mouthwash?

What's the Best Mouthwash?

 Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH
What's the Best Mouthwash?

As a dental hygienist, I get asked the same questions over and over again.  One of the most popular… “Which mouthwash should I use?”

There are two main types of mouthwashes within each brand: (1) fluorides and (2) antiseptics.  Fluorides are good for your teeth and antiseptics are good for your gums. The green and blue bottles represent the antiseptic mouthwash, while the purple represents the fluoride mouthwash.

Dental hygiene is incredibly important. Everyone knows they should floss and brush their teeth regularly, but dental care is never complete without the use of a quality mouthwash. But how do you choose the best one?

This question cannot be answered in a general, broad sense, although being more informed on the subject helps greatly in making a choice.

So, how do you know which one to use?  Keep reading!

Fluoride (Purple):  

If you are more prone to cavities, you may want to add some kind of fluoride rinse to your daily routine, such as ACT fluoride rinse.  Fluoride rinses help reduce your chance of tooth decay and aid in remineralization of your enamel.  The best time to rinse with fluorides is before bed because you’re not supposed to eat or drink for 30 minutes for the best results.

It is also known as an anti-cavity mouthwash, which means if you have problems with cavities it could be the best mouthwash for you.

It also remains in your saliva for a while, so it is highly recommended to not eat or drink anything for at least half an hour after using it. The dental health benefits of using fluoride mouthwash don't stop at cavity prevention. The fluoride mouthwash restores your enamel, strengthening your teeth as a result.

It helps people with dry mouth, people with gum recession, people with teeth demineralization and people with prosthetic appliances. If you have problems with a cavity, dry mouth, gum recession, teeth demineralization- then the fluoride mouthwash is the right one for you!

Antiseptics (Green And Blue): 

If you have any kind of gingival health issues, you may want to add some kind of antiseptic rinse to your regimen, such as Listerine Zero Antiseptic.  Antiseptics are great at reducing the bacterial count in your mouth, thus aiding in the prevention of gingivitis and gum disease.  Anytime is a good time to rinse with antiseptics!  You can eat and drink …even rinse with water immediately after.

If your gums were able to thank you for using an antiseptic mouthwash, they would. Seriously, it's great for your gums. It is also known as an antibacterial mouthwash which makes it great at controlling the spread of gingivitis and maintaining the health of your gums, while also keeping the little bacteria on your teeth in check.

A small side effect of using antiseptic mouthwash is that very well-known burning sensation in your mouth. However, it's a small price to pay for keeping your breath fresh, along with all the health benefits already mentioned.

So if you have problems with your gums, gingivitis for example, antiseptic mouthwash is ideal for you!

Things to consider:

A few very important and hopefully clarifying notes before concluding:

The use of alcoholic mouthwashes is not advisable for former alcoholics and smokers since some experts suggest that alcohol, in synergy with tobacco, helps in creating and developing head and neck cancers.

A mouthwash is not a replacement for flossing and brushing your teeth. It helps in maintaining and improving your oral and dental health, but it cannot, as some commercials would have you believe, stand by itself in keeping your teeth healthy.

The best mouthwash for you may not be the best mouthwash for me and vice versa. It's important to be informed about your own dental health situation so you can make informed, educated decisions

Your dentist & hygienist knows your needs the best. Talk to them about the best ways to improve your dental hygiene

If you have more severe problems with cavities or gingivitis there are some better mouthwashes available through your dentist.

“Got gum problems and/or want to maintain the health of your gums? use an antiseptic mouthwash!

Got cavity problems and/or want to maintain the health of your teeth? use a fluoride mouthwash! ”

Use BOTH!  

Got gum AND cavity problems and/or want to maintain the health of both your teeth and gums? No problem! It's perfectly safe to use both regularly. The best daily strategy when doing that is to use the antiseptic mouthwash in the morning and to use the fluoride mouthwash just before you go to sleep.

In conclusion, it's safe to say that choosing the best mouthwash depends entirely on the situation your personal dental hygiene is in. You wouldn't be wrong in choosing one mouthwash or the other. Or both


If you don’t have any trouble with your gums or teeth, you are still welcome to use mouthwash for prevention.

Note: If you have severe problems with cavities and/or gingivitis there are prescription mouthwashes available for purchase through your dentist - so make a dental appointment right now and ask their recommendations.

 Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH
Written by Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH"Teeth Talk Girl," is a registered dental hygienist. She started her dental health journey on YouTube, educating the public through videos.
Last updated onNovember 19, 2022Here is our process

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