Most of us grab mouthwash to tame bad breath, but that's like buying an iPhone just to make calls. It can do so much more! According to the American Dental Association, mouthrinses can help control and event prevent tooth decay, reduce plaque, and prevent gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease. They can also help to slow the rate at which tatar, or hardened plaque, collects on the teeth. Here's a quick rundown of which ingredients to look for:
- Antimicrobial agents target bacteria to reduce plaque, decrease gingivitis and freshen breath.
- Fluoride helps make teeth more resistant to decay.
- Astringent salts are deodorizers that mask bad breath. It's a temporary cover-up, so don't rely on these too heavily.
- Odor neutralizers "chemically inactivate odor-causing compounds," says the ADA.