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Listerine vs Plax, vs Scope, vs Crest, vs Act - What Is the Best Mouthwash

Updated on September 12, 2014

What Is the Best Mouth Wash?

What is the best mouthwash? Is it Listerine or Crest? Which one will work better for me? Well, the list doesn't stop here, and the answer is not as simple as pointing a product, and you will see why.

Not all oral washes are created equal, the American Dental Association classifies the mouth rinse in three categories: Plaque/Gingivitis Control, Fluoride Mouthrinse, and Plaque Disclosing Rinse.

In your quest to find the best oral rinse, you need first to define what you need from it. Do you need it as a breath refresher only, or as a way to prevent cavities, or fight plaque, in order to stop gum disease? How often do you use your mouth rinse? The answer to these questions will determine different answers, so read on.

Photo source: depositphoto

What Are You Using Mouthwash for? - Mouthwash Poll

What is your main reason for using a mouth rinse? Do you use it to get rid of the odors, or as a dental hygiene routine?

Your answer will help us make this lens better.

What is you main reason for using a mouth rinse?

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Listerine Antiseptic Mouthwash, Cool Mint - Mouth Rinse for Gingivitis

The Listerine antiseptic is one of the best mouthwashes for periodontal disease and gingivitis. Note that this product is not designed for bad breath, and it shouldn't be used as such, because is going create more problems in the long run if you use it too often.However it is very effective for treating gums, it has the ADA's seal of acceptance, and absolutely great customer reviews. Listerine should be used after brushing and flossing, and should not replace either of them.

The Best Mouthwash for Periodontal Disease

The Best Mouth-rinse for Plaque/Gingivitis Control

If you need a mouth-rinse for medical reasons, you should look for a product that is proven to kill bacteria. There are two things to look when searching an effective mouthwash against gingivitis or periodontal disease, one is the ADA's, (American Dental Association), seal, which basically says that ADA has checked the claims of the manufacturer and it conforms, and the other indicator is the consumers' ratings, which is always accurate.

The best mouth rinse for receding gums needs to contain an antiseptic agent, that kills the bacteria in the mouth. This type of mouthwash is not to be used more than once or twice per day, as the antiseptic agent can affect your gums in a negative way.

The rinse for periodontal disease is most effective when used after evening brushing and flossing, when it can protect the teeth from bacteria.

Some of the antibacterial agents are chlorhexidine, alcohol, or povidone iodine. These are the substances with the most research for efficacy, and they are proven to work.

Do not use this type of rinse for eliminating bad odours caused by foods, they are not designed for this, and they have side effects that will impact negatively your dental health.

ACT Anti-cavity Fluoride Oral Rinse - The Best Mouth-rinse for Preventing Cavities

The best anticavity mouth rinse should contain fluoride, to strengthen the enamel, and to have remineralisation properties, to restore minerals to the teeth on the problem spots.

The Act oral wash is one of the best products to prevent cavities. Fluoride, the active ingredient in its composition, is the one that prevents the cavities. Act Anticavity is ADA approved, and it has great customer reviews on Amazon, so you can't go wrong with it.

Paradoxically, the best selling one is not the one with the ADA seal, but this one.

Make sure though you are buying this as an anticavity product, and you don't have gums problems, otherwise it's not the right product for you.

ACT Restoring Anticavity Fluoride Mouthwash Cool Mint 18 oz (Pack of 4)
ACT Restoring Anticavity Fluoride Mouthwash Cool Mint 18 oz (Pack of 4)
This oral rinse is good for both strengthening the enamel, and restoring the minerals to sensitive teeth. If you have sensitive teeth "ACT Restoring" will definitely help. The alcohol content is not high, so it will not dry out your mouth. It is recommended by most dentists for a reason, it works, and there are virtually no side effects if it's not overused. Active Ingredients: Sodium Fluoride (0.05%) Inactive Ingredients: Water, Alcohol (11%), Poloxamer 407, Sorbitol, Sodium Benzoate, Propylene Glycol, Flavor, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Phosphate.

The Best Mouthwash For Bad Breath

Bad Breath Oral Rinse

If your primary reason for using mouthwash is to remove bad breath, the product you choose needs to have a few characteristics.

Because you will use it probably more than once per day it needs to be perfectly safe, even if it's absorbed in the body. Most of the oral hygiene products are in fact absorbed in small quantities through the mouth, without to be swallowed, so a constant use will increase the risk of otherwise harmless substances present in your product.

Many products in this class contain a lot of alcohol, and this wouldn't be a bad thing if we used it a few times per week, but since a person concerned with bad breath is likely to use this on a daily basis, the alcohol raises usage problems. Alcohol if used very often will cause dry mouth, and dry mouth will in turn accentuate the plaque formation. Saliva has a special chemical composition that stops the plaque from developing, hence its absence is really bad. So you will create a dependence for mouthwash, when you stop using it, bad breath comes back even more aggressive.

The bad breath mouth rinses work in two ways, by targeting the plaque, and tartar, and by targeting bad odors from food. Most of the products have a formula that targets both.

You cannot use a product designed for fighting gingivitis to freshen up your mouth. These products are very strong, and they are designed to kill bacteria on your teeth. The problem is that with overuse this type of products will affect your gums and will have a negative impact on your mouth health. The overuse of mouthwash is now proven to cause harm to tissue, and a study performed at the Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital in Chennai showed that dose dependent mouthwash use destroys the human tissue. Here a link to the article: Effect of mouth rinses on gums

In conclusion, if you just want to neutralize food odors, or to ensure your mouth smells fresh, you need a specially formulated mouth rinse, without or with a low alcohol content, without any antibacterial ingredients such as Chlorhexidine, or Iodine.

On the other hand, if your goal is to reduce the plaque and tartar, a stronger formula is needed like the Listerine, but you need to limit the usage for a period of time, otherwise you will end up with a dry mouth and all the consequences.

Crest 3d White Arctic Fresh Rinse - Mouthwash for Whitening

This mouthwash is not endorsed by the ADA, but it is a great product. It is mainly conceived for teeth whitening, and it is very effective at it. It helps remove teeth stains with regular use.It contains alcohol but in a very small quantity so it is safe. It is also good for breath freshening, although its main objective is the whitening.

Crest 3D White Rinse 32 Fl Oz
Crest 3D White Rinse 32 Fl Oz
Ingredients: Water, Alcohol (5 WT%), Hydrogen, Glycerin, Peroxide, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Poloxamer 407, Flavor, Sodium Saccharin, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate.

Scope Dualblast Mouthwash - Mouthwash for Bad Breath

The Scope Dual Blast is conceived for getting rid of food odors, and eliminate the germs that cause bad breath. This mouthwash is on of the best at removing bad mouth odors. It is not very strong, the taste is nice, and it is not have an aftertaste for a long time. If you are a regular mouth rinse user, you know that some products will just kill your sense of taste, and all the food will taste the same, like mouthwash. Well the Scope Dual Blast doesn't do that, the after taste disappears after a few minutes, but the bad breath doesn't come back.

Plax Advanced Pre-Brushing Dental Rinse - Pre Brush Mouth Rinse

Plax doesn't have the ADA's seal, however the product is praised by a lot of pleased customers. Follow the product's link to see the customers' review on Amazon.The product is meant to be used before brushing, and it helps loosen up plaque, so that at the brushing time more of the biofilm is removed from the teeth.Use this twice a day, pre-brushing, and you are guaranteed to remove the tartar buildup from your teeth.

Plax Advanced PreBrushing Dental Rinse, Soft Mint, 24 Ounce
Plax Advanced PreBrushing Dental Rinse, Soft Mint, 24 Ounce
Ingredients: Water, Alcohol (8.7%), Sorbitol Solution, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzoic Acid, Flavor, Poloxamer 407, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Saccharin,

Smartmouth Mouthwash - Smart Mouth The New Smart Way to Swish

Smart Mouth contains a new technology for fighting bad breath. It is a unique formula that uses two substances that activate when you mix them. Some people complained about the extra step compared to the older generations of mouth rinse, but this technology is truly amazing, and will eliminate bad breath caused by oral germs for many hours, and if used daily, you will never have bad breath problems again.

The Smart Mouth doesn't contain alcohol, will not stain teeth, there is no burning, and it is very effective for bad breath up to 12 hours. It is also very effective for fighting plaque, and treating gingivitis.

Smart Mouth uses Zinc-Ion technology, a new advance in the oral hygiene, that is more effective than both antiseptic based products and oxygen based ones.

© 2013 Dorian Bodnariuc

Guestbook Comments - What Is Your Favorite Mouthwash?

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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I use Thera Breath i love that mouthwash it feels fresh and no bad breath after the rest of the day. Use at night in the morning my mouth feels fresh clean love it. My other one is Listerine it beats all apart Thera Breath.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I used to use Astring-O-Sol. Now I use Colgate Plax.

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 

      6 years ago from Kentucky

      I used to use Listerine, but I really like the Crest 3d White and have been using that for a while now. I get tonsil stones sometimes so I find it very important to make mouthwash a part of my daily dental hygiene.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It has to be Coolmint Listerine for me, I really can't stand the aftertaste of regular. Great lens by the way, thanks for sharing.

    • Coffee-Break profile imageAUTHOR

      Dorian Bodnariuc 

      7 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      @anonymous: I love Listerine, and used it a lot, but there are a few other great alternatives out there. Depends on what are your needs.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Listerine!!!!!!!!the rest SWERVE


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