Use Mouthwash AND Toothpaste
“Mouthwash is important to help reduce the bacteria in your mouth; however, it matters what you use,” says Dr. Field, who recommends using one with activated chlorine dioxide. According to Crest, chlorine dioxide is known to eliminate the bacteria that causes a foul-smelling odor, and has been used in drinking water to safely disinfect and deodorize it, so small amounts of the ingredient are usually harmless if ingested. However, if you’re looking to avoid the ingredient, try hello Naturally Healthy Antigingivitis Mouthwash ($6 and there are refillable pouches available as well to cut down on packaging waste), which features a vegan formula containing aloe vera, organic coconut oil, mint, and xylitol, a natural sweetener.
It’s also important to note that mouthwash should not be used as a replacement for brushing your teeth. In fact, many dentists recommend using the two together. “Based on your individual susceptibility to decay, some people should use mouthwash every time they brush, and some are fine using it only as a quick breath refresher when they need it,” says Dr. Goldstein. “If you are getting decay and are between the ages of 25 and 65, you will probably benefit from a concentrated mouthwash in addition to your toothpaste.”
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