listerine mouthwash benefits

So, you’ve heard good reports about listerine and you want to give it a try but you’re still pretty much doubtful. You’re thinking if you should  go right ahead and begin using it. Well, fret not anymore. We bring you listerine mouthwash benefits or benefits of listerine mouthwash to get you convinced and help you make your decision faster.

Listerine mouthwash has been around since 1879, although at that time it was used as an antiseptic during surgery. Apparently it has also been marketed as a cleaning product and as a treatment for gonorrhea. It came into its own as a mouthwash in 1914 and hasn’t looked back. Standing the test of time, today it is a top selling brand in the United States and other markets, and has achieved the approval of the American Dental Association, an achievement not to be taken lightly.

Listerine mouthwash now comes in a variety of flavors, mostly variations of mint but also citrus flavor, and formulations include ingredients for tartar control and tooth whitening. Listerine spray, a little spray bottle that can be carried in the pocket, appeared on the market in about 2005. Testing of the product has supported the claim that Listerine mouthwash effectively kills oral bacteria, reduces buildup of plaque, and helps prevent gingivitis. There’s no question that Listerine is one of the top products in its class for treating bad breath.

Active ingredients in Listerine include thymol, eucalyptol, methyl salicilate, and menthol. It is interesting that, though the product is very effective, it does not contain chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorine dioxide, or any of the other chemicals so ubiquitous in other brands of mouthwash. If it were not such a long standing commercial brand, we would probably consider it a natural remedy for bad breath. It does contain one inactive ingredient of concern, however, as does Listerine spray: alcohol.

The alcohol in Listerine mouthwash is added to dissolve the other ingredients, and to aid penetration of oral plaque on the teeth. In Listerine spray it probably chiefly serves the first purpose. Alcohol does something else, however, that is not good: it dries out the tissues of your mouth. Drying is not good because saliva is one of our main natural defenses against overgrowth of the bacteria that cause bad breath. A dry mouth is usually a malodorous mouth. Many people would recommend, then, that you stay away from mouthwashes and other oral products that contain alcohol. It may be more of a problem with Listerine spray than with the wash: a blast of alcohol into the mouth numerous times during the day, when you are not otherwise brushing or rinsing, is sure to have more of a drying effect. (And by the way, use of an alcoholic breath freshener can cause you to fail a highway breathalyzer test, should you be unfortunate enough to find yourself in that position.)

Though the issue with alcohol is a valid one, Listerine mouthwash works for many people, so it is not a fatal flaw. If you’re searching for a trusted breath freshener, by all means try it. If you’re disappointed in the results, or if you would rather stay away from the alcohol based brands (Listerine is by no means the only mouthwash to include alcohol), there are lots of other products to try.


Everything You Need to Know About Using Mouthwash

Mouthwash, also called oral rinse, is a liquid product used to rinse your teeth, gums, and mouth. It usually contains an antiseptic to kill harmful bacteria that can live between your teeth and on your tongue.

Some people use mouthwash to fight against bad breath, while others use it to try to prevent tooth decay.

Mouthwash doesn’t replace brushing your teeth or flossing in terms of oral hygiene, and it’s only effective when used correctly. It’s also important to understand that different product formulas contain different ingredients, and not all mouthwashes can strengthen your teeth.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about using mouthwash.

How to use mouthwash

Product directions may vary according to which mouthwash brand you use. Always follow package instructions over what you read in an article.

Here are the basic instructions for most kinds of mouthwash.

1. Brush your teeth first

Start by thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth.

If you’re brushing with fluoride toothpaste, wait a while before using mouthwash. The mouthwash can wash away the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste.

2. How much mouthwash to use

Pour your oral rinse of choice into the cup provided with the product or a plastic measuring cup. Use only as much mouthwash as the product instructs you to use. It’s typically between 3 and 5 teaspoons.

3. Ready, set, rinse

Empty the cup into your mouth and swish it around. Don’t swallow it. Mouthwash isn’t meant for ingesting, and it won’t work if you drink it.

While you’re rinsing, gargle for 30 seconds. You may want to set a watch or try to count to 30 in your head.

4. Spit it out

Spit the mouthwash out into the sink.

When to use mouthwash

Some people use mouthwash as part of their daily teeth-cleaning routine. But you can also use mouthwash in a pinch to banish bad breath.

There’s really no hard and fast guideline for when to use mouthwash for bad breath. But it isn’t going to work to strengthen tooth enamel or fight gum disease unless you use it right after brushing and flossing.

For best results, teeth should be freshly cleaned before using use mouthwash.

How often should you use mouthwash?

It bears repeating that mouthwash isn’t a replacement for brushing and flossing. It’s also not necessary to use mouthwash in order to keep your mouth clean. Most mouthwash products recommend that you use them twice per day, after brushing and flossing.

How does mouthwash work?

The ingredients in each mouthwash formula vary slightly — different products work for different purposes.

ResearchTrusted Source shows that mouthwash does help prevent plaque and gingivitis. But since formulas differ greatly and using mouthwash is tied closely to a good oral hygiene routine in general, it’s hard to definitively say how much it helps or which formula is best.

2010 studyTrusted Source in Scotland found that a high percentage of people who use mouthwash daily reported using it to treat symptoms of gum disease, mouth ulcers, or swollen gums.

Mouthwash kills bacteria by using antiseptic ingredients like alcohol, menthol, and eucalyptol. These ingredients get into the crevices between your teeth and hard-to-reach places like the very back of your mouth, killing the filmy bacteria that can collect there.

They can feel slightly harsh and sting a bit when you taste them. That’s why mouthwash sometimes stings when you use it.

Certain oral rinses also claim to make your tooth enamel stronger by including fluoride. In a 2007 studyTrusted Source of school-aged children, oral rinses with added fluoride brought down the number of cavities by more than 50 percent compared with children who didn’t use mouthwash.

Fluoride additives in mouthwash are similar to oral rinses you might get at the end of a dental cleaning (although it should be noted that fluoride products found at the dentist’s office contain a much higher level of fluoride than the amount found in mouthwash).

These ingredients coat your teeth and absorb into your tooth enamel, helping to make your teeth more durable and plaque-resistant.

Precautions when using mouthwash

Mouthwash usually contains a high volume of alcohol and fluoride. Both of these ingredients shouldn’t be ingested in high amounts, especially by children. For this reason, the American Dental Association doesn’t recommend mouthwash for children under the age of 6.

Adults shouldn’t make it a habit of swallowing mouthwash, either.

If you have open sores or oral lesions in your mouth, you might want to try using mouthwash to kill bacteria and speed healing. But you should speak to a dentist before using an oral rinse in your mouth if you have recurring oral lesions.

Sores in your mouth can be caused by underlying health issues, and dousing those sores with fluoride and antiseptic could be doing more harm than good.


Mouthwash can be used to prevent or stop bad breath, as well as to rinse out plaque and fight gum disease. Mouthwash can’t be used as a substitute for regular brushing and flossing. In order for mouthwash to do your mouth any good, it should be used properly.

If you have recurrent bad breath or suspect that you have gum disease, mouthwash alone can’t cure the underlying causes. Speak to a dentist about any concerns you have about chronic or ongoing oral health conditions.

Your Mouthwash Questions: Answered

Gentle Dental

Oral cleanser for good oral health Bottle and glass of mouthwash on bath shelf with blurred toothbrush and toothpaste in foreground

Table of Contents

Although it should never be viewed as a substitute for brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be a useful addition to your oral hygiene routine. That said, many people have concerns and questions about whether oral rinses are appropriate or effective. Here are some answers to many common questions about mouthwash.

Why Use Mouthwash?

Just like interdental brushes, dental floss and water flossers, mouthwash is good at getting in the small spaces between teeth, where toothbrushes cannot reach. When used appropriately, mouthwash has been shown to reduce the accumulation of plaque, prevent gingivitis, limit the development of tartar, and reduce the risk of periodontal disease. Mouthwash can also kill the bacteria responsible for causing bad breath, while making your mouth feel cleaner and fresher.

What Does Mouthwash Do?

There are two main types of mouthwash: therapeutic and cosmetic. Available by prescription and over-the-counter, therapeutic mouthwashes are formulated to control or reduce gingivitis, plaque, bad breath and tooth decay. Most therapeutic products achieve their desired effect via common mouthwash ingredients, such as cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, essential oils, fluoride or peroxide.

On the other hand, cosmetic mouthwashes are formulated to either mask bad breath or kill bacteria that cause halitosis. Again, you shouldn’t use mouthwash as a substitute for brushing and flossing, which are usually enough to eliminate the bacteria which causes bad breath. If you suffer from chronic bad breath despite good dental habits, visit your dentist to check for underlying issues, including tooth decay and gum disease.

How Should I Use Mouthwash?

It’s usually best to use mouthwash after you have thoroughly cleaned your mouth by brushing and flossing. Start by using the recommended amount, according to the product’s label. Swish vigorously, being sure to move the liquid between teeth as much as possible. Check the product instructions to see how long you should swish before spitting. Most products recommend that you swish for at least 30 seconds. To get optimal benefits from fluoride mouthwashes, try to avoid drinking, eating or smoking for at least 30 minutes, or you may wash away the fluoride.

If the mouthwash seems too strong, you can dilute it by adding water. That said, you should check the label first, since diluting the product could reduce its ability to fight plaque. Some people experience irritation when rinsing with mouthwash. This is especially common for people who have sensitive gums or teeth. If you notice irritation after rinsing with mouthwash, switch to a non-alcohol rinse or try a natural mouthwash, containing Aloe vera or chamomile.

Since most mouthwashes are toxic when swallowed, you should be careful not to ingest large amounts. If you allow a child to use mouthwash, be sure to provide supervision to prevent accidental swallowing. According to the American Dental Association, children under six shouldn’t use mouthwash unless directed by a dentist, since they are more likely to inadvertently swallow large amounts of the liquid.

Are Mouthwashes Good to Use?

While some people doubt the effectiveness of mouthwash, research has shown that it is actually quite good at controlling bad breath. That said, studies have also shown that products containing chlorhexidine can temporarily stain teeth.

Some studies have drawn a link between oral cancers and mouthwashes containing alcohol; however, experts agree that these studies are conflicting and provide weak epidemiological evidence. Still, when comparing non-alcohol against alcohol mouthwashes, researchers have found that the alcohol component offers little additional benefits in terms of plaque and gingivitis control. With this is in mind, you may want to consider a non-alcohol mouthwash if you are concerned about any potential health effects.

If you aren’t sure which type of mouthwash to choose, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which demonstrates the efficacy and safety of a product, based on careful evaluates from the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.

Dos and Don’ts of Mouth Rinsing


You’ve got lots of choices if you’re looking for a way to freshen your breath. But if you want to do something healthy for your teeth and gums too, make mouth rinsing part of your daily routine.

“Today mouthwashes are not just perfumes for the breath,” says Mark Wolff, DDS, PhD, chair of cariology and comprehensive care at New York University College of Dentistry. “They can also reduce gingivitis [gum disease], tooth decay, tartar and plaque, and they can whiten.”

Do I Need to Rinse?

Mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. But if you have trouble doing those correctly, rinsing can help protect you from cavities or gum disease. Fluoride rinses help prevent tooth decay.

“Mouthwashes, when added to a good home care regimen of brushing and flossing, can target a condition that you are facing,” Wolff says. “You don’t swish for 2 minutes with a whitening mouthwash and suddenly have white teeth. But if you brush well and keep the plaque off of them and use that mouthwash as part of the package, you do get whiter teeth.”

A mouth rinse won’t cure serious problems, though. If you have regular bleeding of your gums or consistently bad breath, for example, see your dentist. He might prescribe a mouthwash that’s stronger than the kind you buy over the counter.

Mouthwash Ingredients

Read the labels carefully on over-the-counter types. Ingredients — and the benefits they provide — vary by brand.CONTINUE READING BELOW


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They usually include one or more of these:

Fluoride. It helps reduce tooth decay and prevent cavities.

Antimicrobials. They kill the bacteria that cause bad breath, plaque, and gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums at the early stages of gum disease.

Astringent salt. It’s a type of deodorizer that can temporarily cover up bad breath.

Odor neutralizers. They can attack the cause of bad breath.

Whiteners, such as peroxide. They can help against stains on your teeth.

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