Although it may seem like a simple purchase, not all mouthwash is the same. With so many options on the market these days, it can be hard to know which is the right one for your needs. Here, we break down the label on mouthwashes and rinses.

Antibacterial mouthwash: If you’re mostly using mouthwash to prevent bad breath or gum disease, an antibacterial mouthwash is the best choice. These mouthwashes help to kill the bacteria in your mouth that can cause bad breath, plaque and gingivitis. Some antibacterial mouthwashes are only available with a prescription, but most are available over-the-counter.

Fluoride rinse: This is the best choice for you if you’re prone to cavities or you don’t regularly drink fluoridated water. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps to protect teeth by strengthening enamel, making it more resistant to decay. Fluoride mouth rinses are proven to prevent cavities, but they don’t help to protect against gum disease.

Prescription: If you have gingivitis or gum disease, your dentist may prescribe a prescription mouthwash. Prescription mouthwashes contain much stronger antibacterial properties than over the counter antibacterial mouthwashes. However, they can stain teeth a dingy brown color. These mouthwashes are prescription-only so dentists can
monitor staining, and also because they typically contain alcohol.

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