Mouthwash For Bad Breath | Our Top Recommendations to Beat Halitosis

Even with numerousoral health products flooding the market, the industry continues to carry a heavy load of dental complications. Amongst them, bad breath, also known as halitosis, is one common problem that dentists handle daily. While regular floss or mouthwash for bad breath can help improve the condition, it is critical to pinpoint the main triggers.

Key Takeaways

  • There are multiple causes of bad breath
  • Bad breath is dangerous only if accompanied with other symptoms 
  • Fight bad breath with mouthwash
  • It's important to pick the best mouthwash for bad breath

    a woman stepping away from the man with bad breath

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    Mouthwash for Bad Breath: Causes

    Bad breath starts from odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. These bacteria feed on food particles left in the mouth and metabolize them to produce sulfur compounds responsible for bad breath, tooth decay, and other complications.

    Any of these conditions can also cause bad breath:

    • Dry mouth
    • Bacteria growth in the mouth
    • Infection in your sinuses or throat (gingivitis, tonsillitis, or pharyngitis)
    • Poor oral hygiene
    • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
    • Dental cavities or gum disease
    • Spicy foods or alcohol consumption
    • Smoking
    • Poor diet
    • Nasal allergies, sinus infections, and postnasal drip
    • Medications such as antibiotics, diuretics, and some antidepressants

      a person drinkng and smoking in the bar

      Is Halitosis (Bad Breath) Dangerous?

      Mild bad breath may not be a cause for alarm. However, consult a qualified dentist if bad breath fails to go away after brushing your teeth or flossing. 

      If the condition displays other symptoms like weight loss, fever, or fatigue, these could be signs of underlying health conditions such as diabetes or cancer. Bad breath can also indicate the presence ofperiodontal disease, a buildup of plaque in the mouth. The health condition often leads to tooth loss if left untreated. 

      All in all, halitosis can significantly impact your quality of life and affect how others perceive you. The smell can be embarrassing, especially if persistent or when mingling with others in a social setup.

      a person holding a hand over the mouth

      It also impinges on self-esteem as the public considers people with halitosis unhygienic. Bad breath is also a symptom of several other conditions that may require medical attention, including:

      • Cancer
      • Diabetes can cause a sweet smell in your mouth due to ketones
      • Kidney disease, which may cause a foul, musty odor
      • Liver disease, which can cause a metallic or ammonia-like smell
      • Pancreatitis causes a fruity odor
      • Strep throat causes a foul odor
      • Throat infections cause a bad taste in your mouth as well as a foul odor

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        Does Alcohol-Free Mouthwash Help Freshen Breath?

        The best mouthwash with active ingredients can help clear bacteria and food debris in your mouth. You should also note that some mouthwash contains alcohol, dries out your mouth, and worsens bad breath. Alcohol-free mouthwash is the best option for fresh breath.

        Apart from helping increase saliva production, a zero alcohol mouthwash aids influshing out harmful bacteria likely to cause several health complications. Moreover, a cool mint antibacterial mouthwash from Listerine works even better because of itsantiseptic properties.

        When used daily, a cool mint mouthwash helps fight bad breath and gingivitis in areas where an ordinary brush or floss may not reach.

        a bottle of mouthwash with tongue scraper

        Should You Use Mouthwash Before or After Brushing?

        Various dentists give different recommendations on when to use mouthwashes. For instance, the National Health Service suggests that adults and children above 12 should avoid using mouthwash immediately after brushing.

        On the other hand, the Mayo Clinic dentists recommend mouthwash after flossing and brushing your teeth. Other experts claim that before brushing is the best time to rinse your mouth with a mouthwash. You can also use mouthwash after brushing, but ensure that you rinse the toothpaste completely before swishing with the mouthwash.

        When using fluoride toothpaste, wait 30 minutes after brushing before using mouthwash to allow the product to work. This will ensure that fluoride does not deactivate the active ingredient in your mouthwash.

        a man in the bathroom with toothbrush and mouthwash in his hands

        What is the Best Mouthwash for Bad Breath?

        While several different types of mouthwash are available, some are better than others in treating bad breath. For example, if you have inflamed  or receding gums or canker sores, you should avoid using alcohol-based mouthwashes. These can worsen the symptoms by drying out your mouth and irritating sensitive gum and teeth.

        Instead, use a nonalcoholic solution such as chlorhexidine gluconate or cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC). The main advantage is that it helps kill the bacteria that cause bad breath. Also, they are safe to use even when experiencing other dental complications.

        If you want a cool, refreshing experience, peppermint alcohol-free mouthwash will do you good. In short, it leaves your breath smelling fresh and gives you enough confidence to face the world.

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        Unknown to most people, chlorine dioxide, when used in low concentrations, neutralizes bacterial activity around the teeth and tongue. 

        If you are wary of chlorine dioxide and its effectiveness, check for mouthwashes with menthol as an active ingredient. For instance, the ingredient distribution of Listerine original mouthwash is thyme/thymol 0.64%, mint/menthol 0.0042%, eucalyptus 0.092% and wintergreen/methyl salicylate 0.06%. Daily rinsing with menthol can help freshen your breath and give your tongue and entire oral tissues a clean feeling.

        However, it’s important not to rely on mouthwashes alone. You can go a long way in keeping halitosis away with a proper combination of a dentist checkup (after every six months)and a Listerine rinsing daily.

        various colors mouthwash

        How to Pick the Best Mouthwash

        There are many factors to consider whenchoosing mouthwashes, including:

        • The ingredients

        Confirm if the mouthwash has ingredients to fight germs when shopping for mouthwashes. It could be zinc gluconate, quaternary ammonium, or cetylpyridinium chloride. Some brands like Listerine use menthol, fluoride, and various essential oils for oral health care.

        • The pH level

        This number indicates how acidic or alkaline a product is on a scale of 0–14. Anything above seven is considered neutral. Ideally, your mouthwash should have an acidic pH level between 2 and 6 so it doesn’terode tooth enamel when you rinse it after brushing your teeth. The pH level in Listerine mouthwashes differs from one product to another. Overall, they range from 3.3 to 4.3.

        • The alcohol content

        Using alcohol to rinse your teeth is a debatable topic. While some people avoid alcohol-free mouthwashes, others claim their effectiveness in maintaining healthy dental hygiene. Famous mint and fluoride varieties have approximately 22% of alcohol. Listerine stands tall, with the highest alcohol content of 26.9%.

        toothbrush, dental floss and a glass of mouthwash

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        Can mouthwash give a positive alcohol test?

        Yes. Excess ingestion of ethanol may lead to intoxication or a positive alcohol test. However, the residue dissipates very fast and within 15 minutes.

        Can mouthwash damage taste buds?

        No, but go easy on mouthwashes and avoid using them too often. Frequent use of mouthwashes may lead to oral dysbacteriosis and taste impairment.

        Can you use mouthwash for other intended purposes rather than oral hygiene?

        Yes. Mouthwashes come in handy for a variety of uses. You can use them to keep flowers alive, treat dandruff, and clean sinks.

        Do mouthwashes penetrate the gums?

        No. Mostdental hygiene products rarely penetrate the root. They only help clean the germs and plague, which freshen the breath.