Types of Mouthwash & Their Uses

A dental care routine that includes brushing only does not eliminate all germs that can accumulate on the surface of the teeth, gums and other non-dental surfaces and therefore will not guarantee giving your mouth the required hygiene. Food debris can also get stuck between the teeth and cause many problems and would not be removed by a brush.

You need to follow a routine of daily cleaning of three steps to maintain the health of your teeth and avoid problems and diseases that can affect the gums and teeth such as gingivitis, plaque and other problems that cause weak teeth and bad breath. The three steps a proper daily routine consists of are: brushing, flossing, and mouth washing. 

You might know that not all types of mouthwash are the same, there are many types of mouthwash that can have different effects according to the active ingredients they contain. This article will walk you through the types of mouthwash available, their benefits and their uses, so you can choose the one that suits you the best.

Uses of Mouthwash

Some types of mouthwash are used to help eliminate issues that affect the mouth and teeth such as reducing plaque, gingivitis, tooth decay and bad breath. These types of mouthwash are considered to be therapeutic and they help solve these problems with the active ingredients they contain. While other mouthwashes are made to merely give you fresh breath without having any anti-bacterial or properties.

Most therapeutic mouthwashes can be obtained without a prescription, but some require a prescription according to the ingredients they contain.

Active ingredients used in mouthwashes

There are many active ingredients used in various types of mouthwash, each with its own effects and benefits. They include1

  1. Cetylpyridinium chloride: It is added to mouthwash to reduce bad breath.

  2. Chlorhexidine: It can be used to help control plaque and gingivitis and generally can’t be bought without a prescription.

  3. Essential oils: Helps control plaque and gingivitis

  4. Fluoride: It is used to help prevent tooth decay

  5. Peroxide: Helps teeth whitening

  6. Sodium Fluoride: used for preventing tooth decay and helping decrease teeth sensitivity.

  7. Eucalyptus: help prevent plaque and gingivitis2

  8. Hydrogen peroxide:  used for teeth whitening and is highly effective in penetrating the hard tissues of the teeth3

Types of mouthwash 

There are various types of mouthwash available in the market that can be considered cosmetic or therapeutic according to their ingredients. A mouthwash may be considered cosmetic if it does not contain germ-killing ingredients.4 

  1. Cosmetic mouthwash
    As the name indicates, cosmetic mouthwashes aim to temporarily control the smell of the breath and leave a pleasant taste in the mouth without eliminating germs, as a mouthwash with germ-killing ingredients can do. Therefore their refreshing effect does not last for a extended period.

  2. Fluoride Mouthwash

    Fluoride mouthwash helps rebuild weakened tooth enamel in a process called remineralization, making teeth more resistant to decay and tooth erosion. When you use fluoride mouthwash, you help reverse the early signs of tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy.5
    Fluoride can be obtained from many natural sources such as some foods and most water sources such as rivers, lakes and wells, but the concentration of fluoride in these sources is less than the level you need to provide the necessary protection for your teeth. Using a fluoride mouthwash such as Listerine® Fluoride Defense ensures that you get the necessary amount of fluoride to help prevent cavities. It contains added fluoride, essential oils, and green tea extract which strengthens the enamel of the teeth and helps prevent tooth decay.

  3. Antiseptic mouthwash
    Antiseptic mouthwash helps eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath because it contains bacteria-killing substances. Eucalyptus oil is an effective antibacterial agent that is used in some Antiseptic mouthwash products to help kill bacteria and fight against plaque. It is extracted from the eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus) which has been long used as an antiseptic to kill germs by traditional aboriginal of Australia, the native home of the eucalyptus tree.6 Try using Listerine® Cool Mint Mouthwash antiseptic mouthwash that helps fight plaque effectively and provides fresh breath protection.

  4. Natural mouthwash

    For people who prefer using non-alcoholic products for whatever reason, a natural mouthwash is the choice for you! Natural mouthwashes offer the same benefits as other mouthwashes, except that they are gentle with a milder taste and are alcohol-free.

    You can find options of Listerine zero alcohol mouthwashes with two different flavors of fresh mint Listerine® Cool Mint Milder Taste Mouthwash and Listerine® Total Care Teeth Protect Milder Taste Mouthwash.

  5. Whitening mouthwash
    Dental care has become more than dental and oral health, as having bright white teeth and an attractive smile is a must have too. People have become greatly keen on getting dental care products that have whitening properties. A whitening mouthwash can be the perfect complement to your home teeth whitening program that helps remove stains and brighten dull teeth.

    Protecting your teeth and keeping them healthy and free of cavities requires constant care. Using a proper mouthwash effective in killing germs and microbes that survive after brushing makes your efforts more effective and helps you keep your mouth fresh for longer.