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Are you one of the millions of people who struggle with bad breath on a regular basis? Though everyone suffers from bad breath at one point or another, expert’s report that anywhere between 35 and 45 percent of the world’s population actually struggles from certifiable halitosis, or bad breath; 80 million of whom live in the US. And while the fact that millions of adults also suffer from bad breath might make you feel less alone in your struggles, it doesn’t help you find a solution to the problem.

Chances are if you’re an adult with bad breath, you’ve tried various remedies to help put an end to your problem. You’ve probably also heard the rumors about the effectiveness of mouthwash  – a common product used to combat stinky breath; while some people swear by the stuff, others claim it can ultimately cause more harm than good. However, by knowing and understanding the truth about mouthwash, you can discover for yourself if mouthwash really works.

Mouthwash: A Yes or No Solution

Unfortunately, there is no concrete answer for the effectiveness of mouthwash. This isn’t because there isn’t enough evidence to back up a definite claim, or because people can’t make up their minds – it’s because just as no two humans are the exact same, no two types of mouthwash are either. Depending on the type of mouthwash you choose and the different factors of your mouth, you could either find great success or nothing short of a disappointment.

To understand this better, it’s important to take a deeper look into what mouthwash is and the effects the differences can have on your mouth.

Finding the Right Mouthwash

Generally speaking, there are five different types of mouthwash you’ll encounter in the dental hygiene aisle of your supermarket:

  • Desensitizing mouthwash: Designed to reduce sensitivity, these types of mouthwash contain Arginine, a substance that’s said to seal dentinal tubules in the sensitive areas of your mouth.
  • Fluoride rinse:  Made with about .05% of Sodium Fluoride, this rinse protects against tooth decay and stubborn cavities.
  • Cosmetic mouthwash: As the title suggests, this type of mouthwash only temporarily masks the smells of bad breath rather than eliminating the bacteria within the mouth that’s the root of the issue.
  • Whitening mouthwash: This type of rinse is becoming an increasingly popular way to whiten teeth, as it’s made with the common bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide.
  • Anti-plaque mouthwash: Made with antiseptic products Thymol, Triclosan, Cetylpyridinium Chloride, Chlorhexidine, and more, anti-plaque mouthwash helps fight off the accumulation of plaque, which causes inflammation of the gums.

Though the best way to determine the right mouthwash for you is to consult your Salt Lake City dentist, there are also a few at-home solutions you can try as well. When choosing your mouthwash, consider:

  • If you like the smell or not
  • If you tend to have a dry mouth, opt for alcohol-free mouthwash
  • If you have a tendency to accidentally swallow some of your mouthwash (not uncommon), stay away from products with extra fluoride, as too much can be toxic
  • Choose products with chlorhexidine if you’re at risk of or suffer from gum disease

Understanding your mouth and the different types of mouthwash can be a determining factor between finding a mouthwash that works for you and a product that doesn’t. After you’ve found your mouthwash match, be sure to use daily while ensuring you gargle and swoosh for at least 60 seconds to allow the chemicals to work. By pairing this with regular brushing and flossing, you’ll find yourself benefiting from the perks of using mouthwash.