The best mouthwash should fresh your breath. That’s the baseline—that it wipes away odor-causing bacteria. And that’s how most of us use the stuff. You recently brushed your teeth but want that freshness to carry you until lunchtime? Gargle. Got coffee breath and need a quick reset before a big meeting? Mouthwash is the fast, easy solution. (And yes, a couple of our favorite mouthwashes fit nicely in your work bag or desk drawer.)
But the best mouthwash is more than just a breath refresher. Some target gum health and can fend off gingivitis, while others prevent the symptoms of dry mouth from taking hold (which in turn will keep breath fresher for longer). So we rounded up our 7 favorite oral rinses. Each has its own strength—but they’ll all guarantee that your date won’t be able to tell you ordered the puttanesca.
Best Mouthwash for Dry Mouth
Alcohol-based oral rinse can actually dry out your mouth. And because it’s often that same lack of moisture that allows odor-causing bacteria to proliferate, if you routinely have dry mouth, you want an alcohol-free product. Biotene is a cult favorite, especially for anyone with dryness. It’s also a sugar-free formula that balances the mouth’s pH levels.
Best Mouthwash for Fighting Bad Breath
There’s normal bad breath, and then there’s halitosis—the kind of breath that a low-key routine has trouble keeping at bay. But this stuff can neutralize it all. It’s clinical strength, thanks to a high concentration of zinc—alongside a roster of bacteria-bouncing, mouth refreshing ingredients like tea tree oil, xylitol, green tea extract, and aloe vera.
Best Mouthwash for Your Gums
If you’re looking for more natural ingredients, aloe vera is often used in place of antiseptic chlorhexidine to mitigate gingivitis and plaque. Similarly, coconut oil is a known toxin flusher and overall mouth neutralizer Hello’s antigingivitis mouthwash does all of this in 30 seconds, thanks to these two hero ingredients. It’s good for your entire mouth, but especially effective on your gums.
Best Mouthwash for Your Teeth
Crest’s alcohol-free mouthwash works with Your saliva to reduce bacteria and boost moisture in the mouth. A fluoride-enriched formula helps strengthen enamel and protect teeth, magnifying the efficacy of your toothbrushing efforts. Also nice? The subtle flavor, great for anyone who is averse to the sharp, minty varieties.
Best Workday Mouthwash
This luxe oral brand out of Switzerland has made a quick name for itself in the business of smile brightening. (We highly recommend the GQ Grooming Award-winning toothpaste as well as the excellent whitening serum). This mouthwash, though, is perhaps the best balanced on this list, since it is designed to punctuate an overall brightening, cleaning, and refreshing oral care regimen. Our favorite feature, though, is the TSA-friendly 3.4-oz. bottle, which tucks perfectly into your messenger bag or your office drawer. A small capful is all you need for a total rinse—just don’t let your colleagues mistake you for sneaking some midday hooch.
Best Mouthwash for Travel
With Marvis, a little goes a long way. That’s because this isn’t a straight-up mouth rinse—it’s a concentrate, meaning you’ve got to dilute it (1 part concentrate to 4 parts water). That makes it easy to bring along while you travel. Otherwise, take a TSA-friendly, 3.4-oz vessel, and fill it 1/5 full with this concentrate, then top it off with water. Et voila! High-powered mouthwash, whenever you need it. (After a long, mouth-drying redeye, for starters…)