One of my biggest challenges when I got out on my own was choosing and purchasing basic health care items. I already had strong opinion regarding my shampoo and all of my hair products. I had a favorite deodorant, but I never gave any thought to the specific mouthwash I purchased. But of all of the things in our morning trousseau, probably oral care is the one that can eventually affect our overall physical health.

I actually took the time to do a bit of study so that I could find the proper mouthwash that would meet my needs. If you are asking yourselves similar questions that I did, maybe this will help you.

Just stand in the aisle of your local big box retail store and you’ll understand the complexity of the task at hand. The plethora of provisions of mouthwashes:

  • Fluoride – to strengthen your teeth
  • Antiseptic – to fight bad breath and fight tooth decay.
  • Cosmetic – help to whiten your teeth (and typically also freshen your breath)
  • Natural – these offer the benefits of other mouthwashes without introducing strong chemicals and alcohol.

Fluoride Mouthwash

Fluoride mouthwashes contain sodium fluoride that does promote stronger teeth. But considering the fact that your toothpaste will contain fluoride and most drinking water also has fluoride, you wonder if this is a topic worth focusing your search around. It is also important to know that consuming too much fluoride can be detrimental to your health.

Antiseptic Mouthwash

Antiseptic mouthwashes contain a chemical called chlorhexidine gluconate. This chemical stops the growth of bacteria and helps those who suffer with mouth infections and with halitosis (bad breath). Used over a long period of time, chlorhexidine can turn your teeth a yellowish tint. If you do happen to notice this, your doctor or dental hygienist can easily fix the problem.

Cosmetic Mouthwash

Cosmetic mouth washes will offer many of the same kinds of protection that other mouthwashes will, but often not offer protection against tooth decay. These typically also take quite a bit of time before cosmetic advantages are apparent.

Natural Mouthwash

Natural mouthwashes attempt to provide the same benefits that other mouthwashes do, but without the presence of harsh chemicals.

All mouth washes should be used in connection with your other oral hygiene practices. Mouthwash alone is not enough to protect your oral health. What it comes down to is that your mouth is different from everyone else’s. You will need to first establish your reasons for choosing to use mouthwash and then find a product that meets your requirements in a mouthwash product.

Your Thoughts

How do you select your mouthwash? What’s the best mouthwash you have found, and why?

Cory Kemp is the founder and chief editor of He's committed to providing consumers with helpful tips for saving money at the dentist. Follow me on Google +