Best Mouthwash

We spent over 30 hours researching and testing over 18 different brands of mouthwash and found that germ-fighting ingredients, fresh taste, and cost were the most important factors that consumers looked for when shopping for mouthwash.  TheraBreath – Fresh Breath Oral Rinse scored high marks over all the others and is our overall top pick. TheraBreath is one of the United States’ bestselling mouthwash and for good reason.  When you use this mouthwash there will be no burning or stinging the way some other brands can and it is guaranteed to stop bad breath for as long as 24 hours. 

Mouthwash Reviews
13 mins to read
29 products considered
18 products reviewed
30 hours reviewing

1. TheraBreath

Best Overall Mouthwash

5/5 Product Rating

TheraBreath offers this ADA approved mouthwash that is one of the best-selling mouthwashes on the market.  You will not have to worry about bad breath thanks to the ingredients that neutralize the bacteria that produces sulfur and destroys food odors and morning breath.

 In clinical studies, TheraBreath was found to attack bad breath and keep it away for up to 24 hours.

TheraBreath contains no perfumes, dyes, detergents, or other harsh chemicals or additives that can dry out your mouth and damage those sensitive tissues.

The mouthwash has been certified kosher, vegan, and gluten free as well.  The balanced pH maintains an oral environment that is non-acidic and healthy for your teeth and gums.

One of the popular features of TheraBreath is that you will not have to endure burning or stinging that some mouthwashes can cause. This burning is usually caused by the alcohol that is present in the mouthwash. Since TheraBreath contains no alcohol even those with sensitive teeth and gums can use it without problems.

The company offers customers a satisfaction guarantee that if it does not work the way you want or expect you can get a refund.

Linda Krantz

2. Listerine

Best Overall Mouthwash – Runner Up

4.8/5 Product Rating

Listerine is one of the most well-known names in mouthwash, popular for its effectiveness.  This cool mint mouthwash will kill 99.9% of the germs that cause gingivitis, bad breath, and plaque so you are left with a cleaner and fresher mouth than you would have with just brushing.

This ADA-approved product offers users 24 hour protection when used twice a day and is better for your oral hygiene than just brushing alone.

In just five weeks of regular use, you will notice a big difference in the cleanliness of your mouth. Just swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds morning and night and you’re all set. 

Listerine Ultraclean Antiseptic mouthwash is the #1 recommended mouthwash of all the over the counter brands and features a cool mint flavor that will leave your mouth feeling refreshed and super clean.

Linda Krantz

3. Crest

4.6/5 Product Rating

Crest is another well-known name in quality oral care products as Crest 3D White Luxe whitening mouthwash demonstrates.

The triple action formula Crest uses in this product will whiten your teeth while freshening your breath and preventing stains on the surface of your teeth.  The Whitelock technology Crest 3D has provides a whitening protector that will keep new stains for setting in.

Using Crest 3D does not replace brushing but adds another layer of protection and whitening when added to a good brushing routine. The fresh mint taste is the perfect start to your morning and will get your smile going.

Used in conjunction with brushing with a tooth-whitening toothpaste users will notice a brighter and whiter smile in as little as two days when using the Crest 3D Luxe toothpaste as well. There is no alcohol in this product so you will not have to worry about the painful burning and stinging that some other mouthwashes cause.

Linda Krantz

Mouthwash Comparison




Smart Mouth


Nature’s Answer


Dr. Arenander’s


Package 2 1 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 3
Quantity (fl oz) 16.00 16.90 32.00 16.00 16.00 16.00 16.00 8.00 33.80 18.00
Flavor Mild Mint Cool Mint Fresh Mint Fresh Mint Clean Mint Cool Mint Mint Spear Mint Fresh Mint Mint
Active Ingredient OXYD-8 Eucalyptol Propylene Glycol Sodium Benzoate Cetylpyridinium Chloride Phytoplenolin Sodium Fluoride Aloe Vera Cetylpyridinium Chloride Sodium Fluoride


Mouthwash Buying Guide

Mouthwash Buying Guide

Despite misconceptions, mouthwash is not meant to replace traditional brushing it is supposed to be used along with flossing and brushing to ensure the healthiest, cleanest mouth possible. Mouthwash is used by rinsing or gargling and is not supposed to be ingested. It is a great way to get a super fresh-feeling mouth each day and to avoid bad breath.

There are tons of mouthwash products on the market; some are just used to get fresher breath but others offer additional protection such as fluoride rinses, plaque reducers and even cavity fighters. There are many different ingredients in mouthwash that can provide these additional benefits. Rinsing your mouth properly each day can get rid of the bacteria that will cause you to have bad breath, plaque, and gingivitis.

There are many different types of mouthwash available to choose from. Although all of them are designed to rinse the mouth and get rid of germs they can also do a lot more. We have listed the common types of mouthwash available to choose from depending on your specific needs.

Cosmetic – This type of mouthwash offers the least amount of protective properties and is mostly used to cover up bad breath. There are some whitening mouthwashes available that fall under the cosmetic category but the whitening effects are not achieved by using the mouthwash alone and require using along with whitening toothpaste.
Fluoride – Fluoride mouthwash contains the ingredient sodium fluoride and is used to prevent decaying of the teeth and to strengthen tooth enamel as well.

Antiseptic – Antiseptic mouthwashes usually have the ingredient Chlorhexidine gluconate and are the most effective type of mouthwash for stopping bad breath (halitosis) and the growth of bacteria in the mouth.

Mouthwash Buying Guide

Therapeutic – Also known as Magic mouthwash, this product is prescribed by doctors for inflamed tissues in the mouth and oral infections.

Natural – Natural mouthwashes typically contain no alcohol like regular mouthwashes have and many have all natural ingredients as well. Some consumers say that natural mouthwashes don’t provide the same fresh feeling that regular mouthwashes do, but this will vary with the type and brand.

Total care – Total care mouthwash has several ingredients that are used for the prevention of gum disease, the reduction or removal of plaque, and many other benefits. The ingredients in a total care mouthwash are usually antibacterial.

Benefits of Mouthwash

Mouthwash has many benefits. We have listed some of the most common benefits users will experience. Keep in mind that not all mouthwashes will provide all the listed benefits.

Easy to use – The caps of most mouthwashes double as little cups so you can measure out the amount you want to use without taking a swig directly from the bottle or having to keep up with a separate little cup.

Fresh and Clean mouth – Brushing will provide you with a fresh and clean mouth but the addition of mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine will give you a freshness that is even more significant than from just brushing alone. This is achieved by the germs that cause bad breath being rinsed away on a regular basis.

Mouthwash Buying Guide

Fights germs – Mouthwash is a great way to additionally fight germs that can cause a host of problems in the mouth such as gum disease, pain from cavities, and plaque build-up.

Sensitivity reduction – Sensitive teeth can be really painful when you eat or drink something that sets the nerves off. There are some mouthwashes on the market that are specially designed to help those with sensitive teeth and can sooth the sensitive areas of your mouth with regular use.

Fluoride – Fluoride fights decaying of the teeth and will protect the teeth’s enamel from breaking down so much.

Orthodontic Aide – If you have braces, you already know how difficult brushing can be. Mouthwash doesn’t replace brushing, even when you have a mouth full of braces but it does act as a great helper to rid the mouth of bacteria and germs around the fittings and hardware.

Physical Limitations – If you have dexterity problems that make flossing and brushing difficult, mouthwash can help rid the mouth of germs and bacteria that can cause further problems. Since mouthwash can reach where tooth brushing can’t, a person with dexterity challenges won’t have to worry so much about reaching the really difficult spots for them and still have a healthy mouth.

Disadvantages of using Mouthwash

There are a few drawbacks that mouthwash has that we have also listed below.

Covers not cures bad breath – Bad breath is actually a symptom of a deeper problem. Using mouthwash will not CURE the problem that is causing the bad breath but it will certainly make your mouth cleaner and fresher which can help improve things.

Alcohol – The alcohol content in some mouthwashes can be so high using it can be almost painful. Strong mouthwashes will leave a burning, stinging feeling and can make your mouth feel raw if you use it too often. It can also kill good bacteria and dry the tissues of the mouth out as well.

Mouthwash Buying Guide

Stains – If the mouthwash you choose contains the ingredient Chlorhexidine, you need to be watchful for staining of the teeth. This ingredient has been associated with staining on some people.

Ingredients to watch out for

Ingredients are always an important part of an oral product. There are some ingredients that you will want to watch out for when you are sorting through the numerous mouthwashes on the market. We have listed a few of the ingredients you would be much better off avoiding in the mouthwash you choose.

  • Super high alcohol content
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Betaine
  • Parabens
  • Cocamidopropyl
  • Saccharin
  • Poloxamer 407
  • Formaldehyde


Mouthwash Ingredients and What They Do

There are many different ingredients that can be present in mouthwash. Each ingredient has its benefits.

  • Essential oils – essential oils such as menthol, thymol, and eucalyptus are bacteriostatic which covers up the sulphides that are responsible for causing bad breath.
  • Cetylpyridinium Chloride – Provides antibacterial action to benefit the mouth.
  • Heavy Metal Salts – Ingredients such as zinc chloride and tin fluoride have been reported to prevent or reduce the growth of plaque and inhibits tartar formation as well.
  • Delmopinol Hydrochloride – This ingredient inhibits the bacteria that are trying to attach to the tooth pellicle constituents.
  • Mouthwash Buying Guide

  • Sodium Bicarbonate – This ingredient is good for neutralizing the acids found in the mouth and has antiseptic properties as well.
  • Triclosan – Triclosan provides both antifungal and antibacterial actions by blocking liquid synthesis.
  • Sodium Chloride – This helpful ingredient provides a limited amount of freshening along with loosening oral debris.
  • Lysozyme – Lysozyme attacks the bacterial cell walls.
  • Sodium Benzoate – This ingredient will alter the glycolytic potential that plaque has.
  • Sanguinarine – Responsible for suppressing bacterial enzymes in the mouth



The information we have provided for you about mouthwash is designed to help you understand all the benefits it provides and also what it is not for. The three top-rated mouthwashes we have featured are all popular, well-known brands that provide plenty of benefits to the user.

Any one of them is an excellent choice for improving you oral hygiene even more. All of the information in the buying guide will help you sort through the numerous mouthwashes available so you can find the one that will meet the needs of you and your family.

There are mouthwashes specifically for children as well which is better to give them since adult mouthwashes can be super strong. Start by determining your own needs and the needs of your family when it comes to oral hygiene and use the information provided in this guide to match your needs with the right quality mouthwash for the best results and a cleaner, fresher mouth you will enjoy.

Linda Krantz

Linda is a proud mom of four and loves researching products. She is our writer for the Baby and Health and Beauty categories. She was a nutritionist in the Chicago area for 12 years before joining the ThoroughlyReviewed team. When she's not researching she enjoys weekend getaways with her family at the lake.

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