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What is really the best type of mouthwash to use?



Well-known member
Sep 17, 2011
I'd like to get the opinion of the dentists who use the forum. What is the best kind of mouthwash to use -- one that has alcohol or one without? Mouthwashes that are primarily alcohol-based say that their main function (in active ingredients) is "antigingivitis/antiplaque". Those without alcohol usually claim their main function is "anticavity", and have fluoride. If you use one without alcohol, are you still getting antigingivitis/gum health benefits?

I'm aware that alcohol can promote bacteria growth in the mouth, and have noticed that when I use non-alcoholic that my breath is better. Right now I am using Listerine Total Care anticavity, and have vacillated between "Zero"/non-alcoholic and the kind that has some alcohol in it (but only lists "anticavity" under active ingredients). Is either one preferable?

What brand would you say is the best? Thank you!
Good question! I've been wondering that myself. I just switched to ACT restore.
None. They're a total waste of time and money.
REALLY???? Act has fluoride and minerals in it. That's not good for my teeth? Did I just spend $8 for nothing?

None. They're a total waste of time and money.
I don't understand. Are you saying that one shouldn't use any mouthwash whatsoever? Isn't mouthwash necessary to return the mouth to an alkaline state after consuming acidic foods, and to remineralize teeth? Is mouthwash harmful or does it simply provide no benefit? Please explain.
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I thought I was being quite clear.

The amount of Fluoride in the mouthwash is inconsequential compared to the amount in the toothpaste which you are now washing away with the mouthwash...

Your mouth will naturally return to its normal state after eating due to the action of saliva, which buffers it quite nicely.

The only mouthwash that's worth using at all is a Chlorhexidine one on prescription and only for a short time.
Your earlier post was not clear, but thanks for the explanation.
Well then, it's one less step and it'll save me some money :giggle:
Sorry to go off on a tangent but is that true even with braces? Thanks
My eyes popped a bit when I read Gordon's original reply because when my gums were inflamed after one of my sessions of :hidesbehindsofa: , my dentist gave me some mouthwash to use twice a day for ten days. It did have chlorhexidine in it, and seemed to help a lot. I have now got some Corsodyl mouthwash because I thought that had the same active ingredient but I don't use it daily, I tend to use it for a week or so if I think anywhere looks a bit inflamed. I'm now going to duck my head below the parapet before I get shot down by all the dentists on this forum;)
Someone correct me if I'm wrong but the main problem with clorhexadine is that it stains teeth after prolonged use? But for temporary use its great for killing the bacteria when you need it.
That's what I thought too, but please correct us if that's wrong..."wonders if she can get refund on an unopened bottle"...
Chx does stain after being used for a while, it also tastes pretty horrid. It can theoretically mess up the balance of the bacteria and fungi in the mouth and this isn't a great thing, but it's more a theoretical issue than a practical one.
I'm just still having a problem with the idea of mouthwash being completely useless and possibly detrimental. I believe mouthwashes receive the ADA stamp, and dentists on commercials recommend certain brands. On a reality show, a young model with really bad teeth was sent to a dentist, who outlined a treatment plan and also told her that she'd have to use a fluoride mouthwash (of course it could be the prescription one you're talking about, but still).

Also, just a side question related to other things I've heard. Is it preferable not to wash out your mouth even with water after brushing with toothpaste, but just to leave it on your teeth? Is that even safe?
Also, just a side question related to other things I've heard. Is it preferable not to wash out your mouth even with water after brushing with toothpaste, but just to leave it on your teeth? Is that even safe?

I would be interested to know this too, please! I know our dentist advises children not to rinse their mouths after brushing their teeth but I've never heard of this being said to any adult. I keep meaning to ask him about that but my mind always goes blank in the surgery. I walk in the door and my power of speech flies out the window.
I am not a dentist but it is better not to rinse your mouth out with water after brushing that's not to say that you walk around frothing at the mouth either, you need less toothpaste than you think.

As a youngster I was told to put toothpaste along the length of the bristles, when in fact all you need is a pea size blob of toothpaste on your brush.
Brush and spit (excuse me) while you are brushing and you will find that the toothpaste goes on its own. Whatever is left won't do any harm. I have brushed my teeth this way for years without harm to myself or others. :ROFLMAO::butterfly:
Not rinsing after brushing is standard practice now, the idea is that Fluoride works best topically, so you want to leave it on as long as possible after using it. That's why it's best to brush last thing before bedtime, so that the F- has a chance to work undisturbed during the night.

It's best to try to work the paste right into the bristles of the brush so that it doesn't all fall off in a big lump when you first put it into your mouth :)
Am I the only one who didn't learn all this stuff as a child? I wish other dentists were more willing to share brushing tips. Are they worried they will sound patronising telling adults how to brush? I wouldnt mind!

Thanks Gordon!
No, littlestar, you're NOT the only one! Last time I went to our surgery, the dentist was running late, so to try to keep my mind occupied, I was looking through a folder full of letters and pictures the local First School children had done after our dentist had been there to chat to them about looking after their teeth. I learned more in that 10 minutes than in the previous 50 years. It is marvellous for me to be able to come on here and ask what probably seem to be stupid questions and get nice helpful responses from everyone, including dentists like Gordon. So THANK YOU everyone!