Dear Dr. Katz,
I've heard that some mouthwashes are better than others, but generally, my husband and I have never really invested in them. We brush, floss and use tongue scrapers, but even a glance down the mouthwash aisle practically gives me shingles! There are SO many options, and I simply can't tell them apart. Please help! If you could, can you point me to the best ones, maybe whitening mouthwashes that clean and freshen at the same time?
Want Halitosis Eliminated, Whitening 2!, Ft. Worth, TX
I'm glad you came to to us, WHEW2! Not only can we help you separate the wheat from the chaff, but we'll point you to the best, most refreshing and whitening mouthwashes on the market!
To start, you'll want a product that uses only all-natural ingredients. Many cheap mouthwashes cut corners, using synthetic chemicals that clean your mouth in the short term but open the door for bacterial growth in the long run.
Much of this is due to alcohol. You'll notice that the cheapest mouthwashes are loaded with alcohol, which dries out the mouth and lets microbes multiply like mad. Avoid such products at all costs!
Likewise, steer clear of rinses or gargles that have sodium lauryl sulfide (SLS), saccharin or benzalkonium chloride listed in their ingredients. These are (respectively) a detergent, an artificial sweetener and an allergen. All three can irritate your sensitive oral tissues and pave the way for canker sores, bad breath and more.
So after using a proper at-home bleaching kit, one that includes gels and form-fitting mouth trays, rinse with an oxygenating mouthwash to keep the whitening going. After all, alcohol will end the chemical reaction that bleaches away the yellow.
Hope that helps, WHEW2!