What’s the Best Mouthwash?
What can the best mouthwash do for you? Can it cure bad breath (halitosis), help prevent cavities or reduce plaque (gingivitis)? Some of them can do all of those things.
The benefits of mouthwashes vary depending on the ingredients they contain. While using the wash or rinse does not make brushing or flossing unnecessary, it may be possible to get plaque and food particles out of hard-to-reach areas with a brisk swish after brushing and flossing.
In other words, the mouthwashes enhance the benefits of brushing and flossing in terms of removing plaque that causes tooth decay.
Mouth odour or halitosis, called bad breath by most of us, is caused by bacteria known as volatile sulphur compound creating anaerobic bacteria or VSC-creating bacteria for short.
When the commercials say that the best mouthwash “kills the germs that cause bad breath”, the company is (or should be) talking about these organisms.
Various ingredients have been shown to successfully reduce the numbers of the halitosis causing bacteria and help to prevent them from multiplying for a significant period of time. Products containing those ingredients could cure bad breath for as long as the ingredient is able to keep the bacteria under control.
The halitosis is caused by the substances secreted by the bacteria. The bacteria are naturally present, but sometimes their numbers multiply to the point that you experience halitosis or bad tastes in your mouth.
Some things that lead to bacteria growth include eating, sleeping and smoking. We can’t give up eating or sleeping, but if you need another reason to quit smoking, you could do it to cure bad breath.
The reason that bacteria grow and our mouths taste and smell bad when we wake up is because the tongue and tissues inside of the mouth get dried out. Alcohol also causes this problem. So, the best mouthwashes may be one that does not contain alcohol as an ingredient. Some brands are as much as 27% alcohol.
Although alcohol is an effective antiseptic, it is only somewhat effective against the VSC-creating bacteria. So, there are a couple of reasons that alcohol may not be a good choice if your goal is to cure bad breath.
Chlorhexidine and Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) may be better choices. CPC has been shown to be effective for preventing plaque and for reducing gingivitis as well. Hydrogen peroxide, fluoride, thymol, eucalyptol and domiphen bromide are other common ingredients.
To find the best mouthwash for you, you might need to try a couple of different brands. You want a rinse that you enjoy using.