Keep it clean

So many types of mouthwash, which one to choose? Whether it’s to just to freshen your breath, and leave the bathroom with that tingling, minty taste or to help fight gum disease or cavities, it can get confusing. 


Here’s a quick guide help you out:

  • Cosmetic rinses: These help to remove food or other debris before or after brushing. They can temporarily freshen your breath and leave you with a minty flavor in your mouth. These don’t include fluoride or other chemicals that help prevent tooth decay or gum disease.
  • Therapeutic rinses (Antiseptic, anti-plaque, anti-gingivitis and anti-cavity): Contain ingredients that have been tested to reduce the number of germs that cause plaque, gingivitis and bad breath. These multi-purpose rinses freshen your breath too.
  • Anti-cavity mouth rinses: Most use fluoride to protect against tooth decay.
  • Most anti-plaque and anti-cavity mouthrinses can usually be purchased over the counter but some prescription strength fluoride, anti-cavity rinses or anti-bacterial products like chlorhexidine, need a dentist prescription.
  • Some mouthrinses contain alcohol. These may be irritating, particularly to people with dry mouth. So check the ingredients before purchasing if you have concerns.  
  • For some people, bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth may be masking the symptoms of an oral disease or other health condition. Continue to see your dentist regularly and discuss any symptoms you may be having.
  • Talk with your dentist to discuss if using a mouthwash is right for you and which one may fit your needs.


Sreenivasan PK, Haraszthy VI, Zambon JJ. Lett Appl Microbiol. Antimicrobial efficacy of 0·05% cetylpyridinium chloride mouthrinses. 2013 Jan;56(1):14-20.
American Dental Association – Mouth Healthy. Mouthwash.

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