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We asked 3 dentists: Does mouthwash really do anything?

Not sure if you should be using mouthwash every day? Doctors weigh in on the product's oral health benefits.

We asked 3 dentists: Does mouthwash really do anything?

If you visit the dentist with any regularity, you can probably recite the questions they ask without even thinking. "Are you brushing twice a day? Flossing after meals?" Then the check-up and cleaning continue, and you're on your way with a new toothbrush.

But what about mouthwash? It's right there in the aisle next to the brushes and floss, but how often does your dentist lecture you about using it on a daily basis? If you've ever wondered if mouthwash really does anything or if it has any oral health benefits, keep reading to see what three dentists have to say.

Use mouthwash to keep bad breath at bay 🤐

Keeping halitosis in check is, of course, one of mouthwash's primary benefits. If stinky breath is an issue for you, mouthwash is an important step in your morning routine. "Regular use of mouthwash can significantly benefit oral health by reducing the acidity in the mouth and controlling the growth of harmful bacteria. This contributes to the prevention of bad breath," explains Dr. Rhonda Kalasho. Her top pick? Therabreath, which she says promote gum and teeth health and can significantly reduce bad breath.

More than 33,000 shoppers have bestowed 5-star raves on Therabreath's mild mint wash. One leaver of review said "this oral rinse gives my mouth a fresh and nice feeling; it helps to kill odor of mouth instantly." 

$15 at Amazon
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$30 at Newegg

Look for products with fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel 🦷

The enamel layer of your teeth is essential for protecting against cavities. To help keep it strong, use a mouthwash that contains fluoride, which can help "remineralize weakened areas of the teeth and can be especially beneficial for individuals at higher risk of tooth decay," says Dr. Kemia Zeinali.

Another option? A fluoride rinse. For Dr. Ilona Casellini, it's "superior to a regular mouthwash because it has properties that actually incorporate into your tooth structure to give you healthier and stronger teeth."

If you're concerned about cavities or weakening the enamel on your teeth, then don't settle for just any mouthwash. Instead, look for a formula enhanced with fluoride, like this popular ACT pick.

$12 at Amazon

Shop ADA-accepted picks 🛒

Not sure how to choose the right swishy-swishy-gargly-gargly? Here's a simple way to narrow down the options: "Choose a mouthwash that is approved by dental professionals and carries the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance," says Dr. Zeinali. She adds that it's important to follow the instructions on the bottle and to talk with your dentist who can help you choose the right formula based on your oral health needs.

Listerine's practically synoymous with the word mouthwash, and no wonder: The brand offer lots of different formulas, and this cool mint antiseptic is one of its most popular. Not only is it beloved by Amazon shoppers, it also boasts the coveted ADA-accepted seal.

$14 at Amazon

Keep brushing and flossing 🪥

While mouthwash has oral health benefits, it isn't a substitute for daily brushing and flossing and regular checkups with your dentist. "The most important products to use on a regular basis are your toothbrush and floss," says Dr. Casellini. "Brushing will remove the plaque and food particles around your teeth. The areas between your teeth and under the gums also need attention, and that is where floss comes into play." If you're not a fan of traditional string floss, Dr. Kalasho says "incorporating a water flosser into your daily regimen can further improve oral-health outcomes."

For a limited time only, this top-rated flosser is more than 20% off at Amazon. There are three power settings; four tips, all with 360 degree rotation; and it's battery-powered, making it a great on-the-road option. In addition to white, this flosser is available in gray, blue and black.

$69 at Amazon
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$110 at Walgreens

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.