Mouthwash can be a helpful addition to your oral health routine, as it can clean places that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. There are two basic types of mouthwash:
Cosmetic—temporarily controls bad breath
Therapeutic—contains active ingredients that help reduce or manage certain conditions (e.g., bad breath, gingivitis, caries)
Therapeutic mouthwashes utilize different active ingredients to achieve their desired effects. Fluoride can be added to help prevent tooth decay. Antimicrobial ingredients (e.g., cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, essential oils) fight bacteria to control bad breath and reduced plaque and gingivitis. Whitening mouthwashes often contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Chlorhexidine-containing mouthwashes can be used to help prevent dry socket following dental extractions. Alcohol-free mouthwashes are a great option for individuals with dry mouth.
Source: American Dental Association. Mouthrinse (mouthwash). Updated 1 Dec 2021. https://www.ada.org/en/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/mouthrinse-mouthwash. Accessed 14 Sep 2023.