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The 10 Best Mouthwashes for Ultra-Fresh Breath, From Aesop to Listerine

These are the ones your dentist wished you used.

The 10 Best Mouthwashes for Ultra-Fresh Breath, From Aesop to Listerine Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus

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A lot of us have a baseline approach to mouthwash—let’s call it “mouthwash, rinse, repeat”. We use it before a date, perhaps after guzzling coffee or smoking, or eating something heavy on garlic and onion. What we often overlook, though, is the potential this product has to prevent bacterial buildup and keep bad breath at bay for much longer than the next few hours.

So, what’s in the best mouthwashes out there? For a few pointers, we spoke with Dr. Clement Kairouz, dentist at Apa Aesthetic in NYC. As for mouthwash red flags, Kairouz says to watch for alcohol, which dries out your mouth and creates an even more hospitable environment for odorous bacteria. (This is why you often wake up with bad breath, even if you gargle mouthwash before dozing off. If your mouth dries out while you sleep—particularly common for air-conditioned or dehumidified environments—then you are a prime candidate for pungent dry-mouth morning breath.)

Your mouthwash of choice should focus on multiple factors of oral care, Kairouz says. Its antimicrobial agents will help reduce gingivitis (gum disease) and bad breath. Some great options have fluoride to improve tooth enamel, and might have ingredients like xylitol to reduce tooth staining, like xylitol. “Xylitol increases the amount of saliva in the mouth and reduces the bacteria S. mutans, which cause plaque to form on teeth,” adds Kairouz. (Hydrogen peroxide is another common ingredient in whitening mouthwashes.)

If you have severe issues with bad breath (such as halitosis), then either speak with your dentist about the best prescriptive options or look for therapeutic OTC options. Kairouz has one warning about some high-grade washes, though: “Prescribed therapeutic mouthwashes often contain chlorhexidine, which helps to combat swollen, red gums. However, it should not be used for prolonged periods as it darkens teeth by staining enamel.”

Below are the best mouthwashes for a lasting freshness, all of which are alcohol free, and none of which will dry out your mouth. Also, don’t be fooled by the preservative ingredient benzyl alcohol on many of these products’ ingredient rosters; this is not the kind of (ethyl) alcohol they’re talking about when it comes to drying out your palate.

The Best Mouthwashes

Marvis Strong Mint Mouthwash [$22.50 on Amazon]
Apa Beauty White Rinse [$25 on Revolve]
Estrella Raíz Herbal Root-Based Mouth Rinse [$40 on Estrella]
vVardis Enamel Highlighter Mouthwash [$25 on Neiman Marcus]
Aesop Mouthwash [$25 on Nordstrom]
SmartMouth Bad Breath Prevention Mouth Rinse [$9.84 on Walmart]
Snow Arctic Frost Whitening Mouthwash [$25 on Neiman Marcus]
Listerine Total Care Alcohol-Free Mouthwash [$14.98 for 2 on Amazon]
TheraBreath Healthy Gums Oral Rinse [$17.64 for 2 on Amazon]
Terra & Co. Oil Pulling Mouth Wash [$40 on Saks Fifth Avenue]

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