If you are concerned about your oral health, you may be considering the addition of a mouthwash to your hygiene regimen. However, there are many different mouth rinses available for purchase at local drug stores. How do you know which is best? Here are a few characteristics to look for when choosing a daily mouthwash:


Fluoride is sometimes added to a mouthwash to increase its teeth-protecting abilities. Fluoride is known to help prevent tooth decay by aiding in the remineralization of the tooth enamel.

Acid from food, drink and oral bacteria dissolves minerals that make up the tooth enamel. Fluoride restores the enamel by attracting the minerals back to the teeth and combining with them to create a new type of enamel. The fluoride-based enamel is better able to resist damage from acid.

When using a mouthwash that includes fluoride, be sure to refrain from eating or drinking immediately after using the rinse. Waiting about a half hour or so before ingesting food or beverages can lessen the chance of the fluoride being washed away before all of its benefits are realized.


Using a mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine can help reduce the number of bacteria in your oral cavity. This is important because oral bacteria are linked to both tooth decay and bad breath.

The microbes release enamel-decaying acid as they feed. In addition, bacteria that reside on various surfaces in the mouth, including the tongue and other soft tissues, emit sulfur compounds that are volatile. These compounds cause your breath to have an offensive, stale odor.  

Chlorhexidine is an antimicrobial product that is sometimes used in dental hygiene products to help kill oral bacteria. Unlike alcohol, which is also antimicrobial, chlorhexidine does not dry out the mouth. A reduction in saliva can cause an increase in the bacterial population within your mouth, since saliva helps rinse oral bacteria away.

ADA Approval

To ensure that your mouthwash selection is a wise choice, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval on the item. With the availability of so many different rinses, the seal can help you weed out products that have not been proven effective or beneficial. Some mouthwashes boast all-natural ingredients, but they may not be backed with enough research to indicate that they are truly beneficial.

For more help selecting a mouthwash, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area, such as Elizabeth Loseke DDS. He or she can assess your needs and prescribe a rinse that is suitable.