8 Natural Mouthwashes That Work Even Better Than Listerine

Recommendations straight from the dentist’s mouth.

October 11, 2017
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mouthwash
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When it comes to mouthwash, sometimes the results can really stink.

That’s because eliminating the bacteria that causes bad breath, and other dental issues, isn’t as simple as spitting it down the drain.

“Using an oral rinse for 30 seconds isn’t doing much more than making your mouth taste good,” says Alireza Panahpour, D.D.S, a holistic dentist in Bellevue, WA and author of The Good Dentist. “Bad breath is caused by plaque—and the bacteria that leads to plaque—which typically needs to be physically removed from your teeth, gums, and back of your tongue.”

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Why? Plaque is sticky, so it can be tough to find a swish solution powerful enough to pry it off your teeth, Panahpour says. The most effective way to get rid of it—and the bad breath it brings along—is by flossing, brushing, and getting a professional to thoroughly clean in between your teeth.

Related: The Best Natural Toothpastes For Kids That Actually Work

But before you dump your mouthwash: There is research underway that hopes to prove the effectiveness of natural- and plant-based mouthwashes, and practitioners are already reporting great results, Panahpour adds. The takeaway: There’s no harm in a minty mouth—and there may even be some benefit to using mouthwash as part of your oral hygiene routine.

Stay germ-free the natural way with this DIY hand sanitizer:

“Just make sure the one you choose doesn’t contain alcohol, as it lowers the pH of your mouth” Panahpour says.  (It may be listed as ethanol on the label.) “When your pH drops below 5.5, the minerals come out of your teeth and the tooth decay process starts. It’s the same thing that happens when you drink soda, juice, or wine.”

And according to Chris Kammer, D.D.S, a dentist in Middleton, WI, alcohol has other negative effects: “It dries out your mouth, and drier conditions are a breeding ground for bacteria,” he says. While you’re scanning the label, also skip anything with chlorine dioxide, parabens, or formaldehyde.

Related: This Best-Selling Teeth Whitener Is Made From Natural Coconut Charcoal

Here are some expert-approved options that don’t tout lip-service-worthy promises—they’ll actually leave you all smiles. The healthy kind. 

 
Spry mouthwash
Photograph courtesy of Amazon
BEST FOR: KEEPING BACTERIA AWAY

Spry Natural Oral Rinse

One of the main components in this formula is xylitol, which Kammer notes is key for “stimulating saliva production and washing away stagnant bacteria.” The natural sweetener has also been shown to keep your mouth at a healthy pH, and prevents bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Full disclosure: It does contain a small amount of grain alcohol, so if you’re going totally natural—keep reading.

Buy now: $10, Amazon.com

 

Carifree CTx3 Rinse

This comes in grape and citrus flavors, but opting for the mint may be your most effective option as the natural plant extract has been shown to help with bacteria-bashing, Panahpour says. This alcohol-free option also contains xylitol.

Buy now: $16, Amazon.com

Jason mouthwash
Photograph courtesy of Amazon
BEST FOR: PREVENTATIVE CARE

Jason Natural Healthy Mouth 

Not just a bottle of watered-down ingredients—the mix of good-for-you stuff includes tea tree oil, which has been shown to help prevent gum disease and tooth decay thanks to its antimicrobial properties. Warning: Just don’t swallow—it can upset your stomach.

Buy now: $9, Amazon.com

 

Healthy Teeth and Gum Mouthwash

Hello, strong teeth! The plant-based minerals reduce gum recession, pain, and sensitivity.

Buy now: $19, Amazon.com

 

ACT Total Care

Panahpour’s pick because: Even though it’s not the most natural option out there, The Total Care Fresh Mint doesn’t contain alcohol (other products in the line do), and is easy to find on the shelf when you need something fast.

Buy now: $7, Amazon.com

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We hope you enjoy the products we're recommending as much as we do! Just so you know, Organic Life may get a share of sales from the links on this page.
 
Oral Essentials mouthwash
Photograph courtesy of Amazon
BEST FOR: BAD BREATH

Oral Essentials Mouthwash

In addition to dead sea salt and organic aloe vera juice, this solution also contains xylitol. So yep, it can help banish AM breath.

Buy now: $12, Amazon.com

 

TheraBreath Dentist Formulated Fresh Breath Oral Rinse

This won’t give you that burning, tingling sensation, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working. It’s been around for over 20 years and has a loyal following.

Buy now: $15 for pack of two, Amazon.com

 

Aesop Mouthwash Bain De Bouche

Loaded with botanical ingredients? Check! Alcohol-free? Check! Promotes the mouth’s natural pH? Check! In other words, this is a goodie.

Buy now: $25, Nordstrom.com