You brush. Twice a day if you're good. Maybe you're very good and brush after every meal. And if you've been following our advice, you floss too. But there's more to a healthy mouth than two minutes of brushing and some floss. If you want to feel (and smell) extra fresh and clean, a proper rinse with a quality mouthwash can do wonders. "A lot of people really enjoy the sensation of rinsing after they're brushed," Matt Messina, a member of the American College of Dentists told Time. "They feel like the mouthwash is clearing away all that loose debris." And they're right. Messina says mouthwash can help you spit out loosened plaque and other bits of detritus hiding in the cracks and crevices of your mouth. But which one is right for you? If you like the tingle of "feeling it work," then opt for a wash with alcohol. If you tend to have a dry mouth, stay clear of alcohol-based formulas. But whether you're looking to brighten your smile or clear up pesky mouth sores, there's an option suited for your needs.
The Best Options
This relatively new formula, from the long-standing mouthwash brand Listerine, is kind of a toolbox in a bottle. It's especially good at strengthening teeth (preventing cavities and restoring enamel) while removing surface stains and freshening breath.
$7.79 at Walgreens
Leave it to the makers of WhiteStrips to make a mouthwash that's just as effective at brightening your smile and removing dingy stains as it is freshening your breath. The alcohol-free and enamel-safe formula has been proven to deliver whiter teeth in just two days.
$8.49 / $6.99 at Walgreens
Perfect for sensitive teeth, this certified non-toxic mouthwash is free of alcohol, preservatives, sugars and dyes. The mild formula combines French essential oils and organic aloe vera juice with sea salt. It protects teeth with non-GMO xylitol, derived from birch trees, which has been used for decades all over the world to help prevent cavities.
$12.34 at Amazon
This concentrated mouthwash energizes and cleanses your entire mouth with a cool, sparkling peppermint sensation. The alcohol-free formula contains natural extracts and xylitol, just remember to dilute with water before using.
$22.50 at Amazon
For those who want something a bit more "artisanal," this dentist-formulated mouthwash is packed with natural flavors of spicy cinnamon and clove mixed with spearmint and peppermint that neutralize odor-causing bacteria.
$22.50 at C.O. Bigelow
If you get mouth sores from stress or have inflamed gums, this surprisingly tasty mint wash is great for soothing and healing minor oral irritations. It also prevents future irritation by keeping bad bacteria out of your mouth.
$8.99 at Target