Having a clean, healthy mouth is essential for overall health and wellbeing. That's why choosing the best mouthwash is so important. While there are many options on the market, some are safer and more effective than others. In this blog post, we'll review the most common mouthwashes available, so you can make an informed decision when it comes to your oral care routine. Read on to find out which mouthwash is right for you.
Why oral health is important (it's not so simple!)
Oral health is essential for overall health and well-being. Not only is your mouth a gatekeeper to your overall body health, but it is also a great messenger. It can tell you what is going on in other parts of your body. Doctors take samples from your mouth to measure this exact thing. So what you put into your mouth (including mouthwash) affects both the mouth and body in significant ways.
A great way to maintain healthy teeth and gums is by using the right mouthwash. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, the best alcohol-free mouthwash can help to remove food particles, reduce plaque, and prevent cavities. It can also help to reduce bad breath and freshen your breath. The right mouthwash can also help to reduce gum inflammation and help prevent gum disease. When selecting a mouthwash, it is important to consider the active ingredients, the concentration of active ingredients, and lastly, the flavor of the product.
But what is often neglected is your oral microbiome. How is it important?
What "Big Mouthwash" doesn't tell you - how your oral microbiome is important
Your oral microbiome is the collection of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live in your mouth. These organisms are essential to maintaining good oral health, as they help prevent bacteria from multiplying and causing gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health issues. It also indicates the status of things elsewhere in your body. Doctors often take saliva samples to measure this. Think of your kisser as a sophisticated environment that is most harmonious when it is balanced.
Having a balanced, healthy oral microbiome helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy, and can even help protect against certain diseases. The best mouthwash can help maintain a healthy oral microbiome by reducing the growth of bad bacteria while promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria.
The problem with supermarket mouthwashes and rinses is they are often loaded with alcohol and harsh chemicals which bombard your mouth and dry it out. This invites tooth decay, decreases anticavity effects, invites staining, and leaves you with a dry mouth. Moreover, your mouth has to work harder to fight bacteria when using alcohol mouthwash. Summarily, "dry" is no good when choosing the best mouthwash!
More importantly, and often overlooked by "big mouthwash", is the importance of balancing your mouth's pH. The plain truth is most mainstream mouthwashes are not designed with your mouth pH in mind at all. Alcohol-based mouthwashes can have the opposite effect - creating more acidity. And as you may have guessed, an acidic mouth is not a healthy mouth.
That's why we created Oral Snoberts - more on that later.
What to look for in the best mouthwash
When selecting the best mouthwash, there are many factors to consider. First, consider the type of mouthwash. There are many different kinds available, such as fluoride, anticavity, antiseptic, antibacterial, and "natural" mouthwashes. You should also consider the active and inactive ingredients that might be helpful for your oral health. Your dentist will be a great resource in choosing the best mouthwash for oral health.
Additionally, look for any mouthwash that is clinically proven (or has lab tests to back it up) as an anticavity agent and/or helps reduce bad breath, plaque and gingivitis. Finally, if it is important to you, take into consideration the taste, as good mouthwash should leave your mouth feeling fresh and clean.
Summarily, the best alcohol-free mouthwash will provide anti-bacterial benefits, fight plaque, prevent tooth erosion, has simple, readable, lab-tested ingredients, tastes great, and won't dry out your mouth.
See below for our #1 pick which provides all of these benefits (hint: it's #5 below if you are in a hurry).
Mouthwash Breakdown of 2023 - pros and cons
Finding the best mouthwash to help keep your teeth healthy can be a daunting task. With so many options on the market, how can you know which one is best for your needs? To help you out, here are the top four products and a lesser-known rising star.
1. Listerine Total Care
First, the big gorilla on the block - Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash. This mouthwash offers six benefits in one, including fighting plaque, freshening breath, and strengthening teeth. It also contains fluoride for added cavity protection and is alcohol-free.
Here are the pros and cons of this big guy on the block:
- Clinically proven to fight bacteria
- Reduces plaque
- Fights gingivitis
- Some variants strengthen teeth (anti-cavity)
- Freshens breath
- Contains alcohol
- Requires poison warning label
- Harsh chemicals
- Contains dyes and ingredients correlated to some diseases and staining
- Burning sensation can be too intense
- Dries out the mouth
- Increases mouth acidity
- Wasteful water usage - millions of gallons per year of water used to produce it
Verdict: Although Listerine is a popular choice for mouthwash, it may not be the best mouthwash for your oral health. Most types of Listerine contain a high amount of alcohol, which can be drying to your mouth and can lead to a decrease in saliva production. Saliva to the mouth is like oil to a car engine. It is essential in keeping your mouth healthy, and without it, your mouth can become more prone to developing cavities and gum disease. Furthermore, Listerine can also be abrasive to your gums and teeth, leading to an increase in sensitivity. While it has been clinically proven to fight bacteria, this is only part of the battle. It is important to consider an alternative mouthwash that does not contain alcohol and is gentler for your mouth.
2. Crest Pro-Health Advanced Mouthwash
Next on the list is Crest Pro-Health Advanced Mouthwash. This mouthwash features a blend of ingredients that not only help protect against cavities, but also help to reduce plaque, reduce gingivitis, and freshen breath. It also contains fluoride for added protection against cavities.
- Helps prevent cavities
- Freshen breath
- Kills germs
- Reduces plaque
- Strengthens enamel.
- Possible staining: This may be due to certain ingredients such as dyes in the mouthwash.
- Taste sensitivity: Some may find it too strong or potent, artificial in flavor.
- Limited effectiveness against specific conditions: gum disease or persistent halitosis (chronic bad breath) isn't established.
- Ingredients and allergies: Like all other oral care products, Crest contains a variety of ingredients that could be problematic for those with sensitivities or allergies.
- Not a substitute for proper oral hygiene: Using this or any mouthwash is only part of your oral health regimen. It should not replace brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups.
Verdict: Crest Pro-Health Advanced Mouthwash is an established brand that affords many benefits in an alcohol-free format. However, it is rife with chemicals, requires a poison warning label on the back, and can have too strong a taste that lingers in the mouth long after rinsing. Moreover, many of the ingredients are toxic when taken in larger amounts. Ingesting this mouthwash may not be the best idea if you use it multiple times per day or over a long period. While it is generally seen as a decent mouthwash, it does not embrace "back to basics" ingredients with minimal processing. Furthermore, the large plastic bottle and water required to produce the product have significant energy and environmental concerns.
3. Colgate Total Advanced Whitening
The third most popular mouthwash of 2023 is Colgate Total Advanced Whitening. This mouthwash contains ingredients that help to whiten teeth. It also fights against cavities and plaque. It contains fluoride for protection against cavities. It is alcohol-free.
- Whitening benefits: Helps whiten teeth and remove surface stains. Regular use can contribute to a brighter and more radiant smile.
- Helps kill germs, reduces plaque buildup, fights bad breath, and provides a refreshing sensation.
- Some varieties are alcohol-free
- Freshens breath
- Potential for tooth sensitivity: The whitening agents in the mouthwash can temporarily increase tooth sensitivity, especially if you already have sensitive teeth.
- Limited effectiveness on deep stains: It may not be as effective for deep or intrinsic stains. For stubborn stains or discoloration, professional dental treatments or whitening products specifically designed for deep stains may be more effective.
- Taste sensitivity: Some individuals may find the flavor too strong or overpowering.
- Ingredients and allergies: As with any oral care product, Colgate Total Advanced Whitening mouthwash contains various ingredients that could potentially cause allergic reactions in some individuals. It's important to review the ingredient list and consult your dentist or allergist if you have any known allergies or sensitivities.
Verdict: While Colgate Advanced Total Whitening has a host of benefits, is designed primarily with whitening in mind. It is an all-around good option for fighting plaque and preventing cavities. However, these same whitening agents can erode teeth and increase tooth sensitivity if overused. Additionally, if strong chemicals and highly processed ingredients bother you, consider going with a gentler alternative like Oral Snoberts (seen below).
4. Therabreath mouthwash
TheraBreath mouthwash is one of the more well-known products on the market for freshening breath and fighting bad breath. It is available in a variety of forms, from a rinse that you swish in your mouth to a spray that can be used on-the-go. While there are many pros to using TheraBreath, there are also some cons that you should consider before purchasing.
- Many varieties target specific conditions. If you have dry mouth, there is a formulation for that. Want healthier gums? Get their gum rinse. They have an anti-cavity rinse and other types for other purposes.
- Established brand created by a doctor. The formulations are based on lab research.
- Therabreath has a large number of options which can be daunting and confusing. What if you just want a standard mouthwash that takes care of bad breath, cavities, bacteria, is alcohol-free, and tastes great? Too many options can confuse consumers.
- Some users complain their mouth developed sores in their mouth and gums became inflamed.
- Other users claim the product burns their mouth.
Verdict: Therabreath mouthwash is a good option created by a dentist and is a household name. It has many options for specific conditions so can be versatile in that regard. However, choosing the right formulation can also be confusing, so make sure you purchase the right one. It claims to contain natural ingredients, but not all of them can be designated as such.
5. Oral Snoberts Mouthwash Powder - The New King of Mouthwash
While relatively new on the block, the best mouthwash is reserved for Oral Snoberts. This mouth rinse sets itself apart from "Big Mouthwash" not only due to its effectiveness in promoting oral health but to its pH balancing effects. It was designed as a more holistic approach rather than the mainstream "bombard with chemicals" method. It enjoys a minimal, plain-English ingredient formulation and balances the mouth rather than carpet bombs it with unholy chemical lab creations. It was created based on three attributes:
- It had to have simple ingredients in plain English.
- The ingredients had to be backed by research.
- It had to be more than a mouthwash.
- Oral Snoberts contains only 5 main ingredients all in plain English - four from trees, plus baking soda.
- One of the enhancers is inulin, a multi-faceted prebiotic found in over 4,000 species of plants.
- Combats bad breath leaving your mouth feeling fresh, clean and balanced.
- Fluoride-free. No "poison warning" label is necessary here!
- No SLES, SLS, parabens, phthalates, garbage chemicals.
- Non-GMO, vegan.
- No dyes or articial flavors
- Contains ingredients that work with your delicate oral microbiome instead of against it.
- Ingredients were chosen for their multifaceted pro-health attributes based on lab research.
- Leaves the mouth feeling naturally hydrated. Eliminates or reduces dry mouth when accompanied by a sensible diet and water consumption.
- Ideal for reducing mouth acidity. It helps balance out mouth pH which is crucial if you want to reduce the chance of developing cavities, swollen gums, or even infection in extreme cases. Perfect for coffee, tea, wine, and even kombucha drinkers.
- Can be used as a brushing enhancer. Since it is in powdered form, you can scoop it into your mouth and use it with your favorite toothpaste.
- More environmentally friendly. The powdered form inhibits excessive water waste, thus decreasing demand for our water supply.
- Powdered form weighs only 4oz. Excellent as a travel buddy!
- It's a bit more expensive than the mainstream alcohol-based mouthwash, but the long-term effects of using a sub-standard mouthwash are far more expensive!
- For some, the powdered form may be an inconvenience. It requires you to mix it with water to use as a mouthwash.
- Not yet a big player. Most people don't realize how important their mouth is to their overall well-being and are mistakenly invested in "Big Mouthwash" to take care of their oral health, so that is what is currently dominant in the oral health consciousness. Mainstream mouthwashes aren't designed to take into account the rest of your body and Oral Snoberts takes makes this a big consideration. Reaching critical mass and educating people on this front is one setback.
Conventional dental wisdom dictates that you should not brush for 30 minutes after eating or drinking because your mouth needs time to restore enamel (remineralize). If you brush during this restoration, it can further damage your teeth. Oral Snoberts is the perfect intermediary between having your morning coffee and brushing. You can rinse right after eating so your mouth is pH balanced, then brush 30 minutes later. No need to wait with a gunky mouth until you can brush!
Verdict: Oral Snoberts is the new kid on the block containing mindful, lab-researched ingredients that seek to promote oral health by balancing the mouth synergistically. The ingredients are basic, recognizable, and you can easily find them in nature. Additionally, Oral Snoberts has a pleasant taste and wonderful aroma that leaves your mouth feeling minty and refreshed without the harshness of other brands. With its superior ingredients and cleaning power, Oral Snoberts Mouthwash is the perfect choice for anyone looking for the best alcohol-free mouthwash.