The 10 Best Mouthwashes for Gingivitis of 2024


Gingivitis is a condition that causes gum inflammation. It can be caused by a myriad of reasons, including improper oral hygiene, some medications, poor diet, smoking, general aging, and even some conditions like autoimmune diseases or diabetes. Thankfully, there are many types of mouthwash on the market that work to target bacteria that can lead to gum disease.

While mouthwashes can help reduce the symptoms of gingivitis, Dr. Joyce Kahng, DDS, the owner of Orange And Magnolia Dental Studio, is a big proponent of brushing and flossing, too. She thinks it is better to focus on the mechanical removal of plaque through flossing and brushing, with mouthwash as an option or an added bonus to target specific issues.

Though brushing and flossing should be your first action to prevent and heal gingivitis, we spoke with dentists about mouthwashes they recommend to improve oral health overall. Then, we narrowed down our top picks based on criteria such as flavor, type, specific need, and ingredients. Here are our top picks.

Can Mouthwash Get Rid of Gingivitis?

According to Dr. Daniel Rubinshtein, DDS, a celebrity cosmetic dentist in Brooklyn, New York, using mouthwash can certainly help get rid of gingivitis. He recommends always rinsing with an antimicrobial, alcohol-free mouthwash to reduce plaque and prevent gum infection. Adding an alcohol-free mouthwash to your oral care routine also helps remove all the germs and food that brushing and flossing might have missed. Plus, it also feels super refreshing. Dr. Rubinshtein recommends using a mouthwash every time you brush your teeth—ideally twice daily.

Types of Mouthwash

Choosing an alcohol or alcohol-free mouthwash will really depend on your personal preference. The alcohol in mouthwash works to destroy bacteria in your mouth, as well as freshen your breath, reduce plaque buildup, and minimize the risk of cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay. Alcohol-free mouthwashes can also do these things but will lean on other ingredients, rather than alcohol, to achieve these goals. While both [alcohol and alcohol-free mouthwashes] help reduce bacteria and stubborn plaque, Rubinshtein prefers alcohol-free options as they are less irritating and better for those with sensitive teeth or those experiencing dry mouth issues or concerns.

Alcohol helps to get rid of the germs that can cause bad breath. According to Dr. Rubinshtein, dry mouth can actually contribute to bad breath, and alcohol tends to dehydrate your mouth. This is something to consider when choosing a mouthwash.

Ingredients in Mouthwashes

Ingredients such as fluoride, chlorhexidine, and hydrogen peroxide all work to reduce gingivitis and cleanse the mouth. However, according to Dr. Rubinshtein, recommendations for mouthwashes that help with gingivitis are currently in a state of flux.

The star ingredients for gingivitis, such as chlorhexidine and CPC, have now been found to have other effects in the body that Dr. Kahng doesn’t recommend for long-term usage anymore. Some mouthwashes that she used to recommend for gums have other ingredients, such as citric acid, which chelates with the calcium in teeth, so essentially, it’s good for gums but not great for teeth. She feels that these mouth rinses may be used short-term for specific issues, but she does not recommend them for long-term usage anymore.

Amazon Listerine Clinical Solutions Gum Health Antiseptic Mouthwash

Amazon


Key Specs

Active Ingredients: Eucalyptol, menthol, and methyl salicylate | Alcohol-Free: No | Flavor: Mint

Why We Recommend It

Lauren Becker, DDS, a dentist in New York City, is a big fan of this pink pick from Listerine. According to Dr. Becker, this new mouthwash includes zinc, which helps remove buildup that causes gingivitis. It’s an antiseptic that kills germs quickly, keeping the mouth free of bacteria and build-up.

This formula will help maintain the pH level of your mouth and works well to reduce bad breath, too. It’s pretty strong, so you can use it in the AM, knowing that it’ll keep your breath fresh throughout the day. Plus, we like that the pink color resembles the pink shade of healthy gums. 

Keep In Mind

This formula does contain alcohol, so you might feel a burning sensation when swishing it in your mouth. If you prefer alcohol-free mouthwashes, you’ll want to avoid this pick.

CVS Crest Gum Care Mouthwash

CVS


Key Specs

Active Ingredients: Cetylpyridinium chloride | Alcohol-Free: No | Flavor: Wintergreen

Why We Recommend It

This is a great budget option from Crest that works to kill bacteria, reduce early signs of gum disease, and prevent and reduce gingivitis. It’s alcohol-free, has a wintergreen flavor, and will help to reduce bad breath, too. 

What’s interesting about this formula is that it’s a bit thicker than your standard, watery mouthwash. It might feel a bit “softer” in your mouth when swishing it around.

Keep In Mind

This is a drugstore brand, but this particular mouthwash might be a bit difficult to find at every drugstore.

ACT Anticavity Zero Alcohol Fluoride Mouthwash

 Amazon


Key Specs

Active Ingredients: Sodium fluoride | Alcohol-Free: Yes | Flavor: Mint

Why We Recommend It

This is a great drugstore pick that Dr. Kahng recommends to her patients. She loves that it’s free from alcohol and works effectively to prevent cavities, too. This mouthwash comes in three flavors (mint, cinnamon, and arctic blast), and should be used only once per day to thoroughly cleanse your mouth. 

One of the cool things about this mouthwash is that it has a built-in cap, so you can know exactly how much liquid to use. All you need to do is take off the cap, hold the bottle upright and squeeze the mouthwash into the top part of the fill cap, Then, pour the liquid into your mouth and rinse for one minute before spitting out the mouthwash.  

Keep In Mind

Because you need to squeeze the bottle to be able to dispense the liquid, this packaging probably isn’t ideal for those with arthritis or someone with a disability.

Amazon CloSYS Healthy Gums Oral Rinse Mouthwash

Amazon


Pros

  • Great for people with moderate gingivitis

  • Free of sulfates, dyes, triclosan, and gluten

  • Very few irritants for people with sensitive gums

Key Specs

Active Ingredients: Cetylpyridinium chloride | Alcohol-Free: Yes | Flavor: Mint

Why We Recommend It

For patients with moderate gingivitis, Dr. Becker likes this formula because it helps with pH balance and is alcohol-free, which makes it non-burning and can help with inflammation. We like this pick for sensitive gums because it doesn’t burn, but still tackles bad breath at the source. It’s sulfate-free, dye-free, triclosan-free, and gluten-free, making it even more ideal for those with easily-irritated gums. 

We like that this mouthwash has very few ingredients in it, making it a good option for those with sensitive gums, who might get irritated from mouthwashes with a ton of different ingredients in them.  

Keep In Mind

Though the effect is rare, a small group of people may experience a loss of taste while using this mouthwash. However, the effects are not permanent, if you do experience this.

The Natural Dentist Healthy Gums Antigingivitis/Antiplaque Rinse, Peppermint Twist, 16.9 oz

Walmart


Pros

  • Contains aloe vera, which prevents gums from bleeding

  • Contains calendula, which helps heal wounds

  • Safe for people going through chemotherapy

Key Specs

Active Ingredients: Aloe vera | Alcohol-Free: Yes | Flavor: Peppermint

Why We Recommend It

Dr. Becker recommends this mouthwash for a couple of reasons, but the biggest one is because of its star ingredient. This mouthwash’s main ingredient is aloe vera, which helps with gingival bleeding. This formula contains 20% purified aloe vera, as well as antibacterial golden seal and grapefruit seed extract, calendula for wound healing, and echinacea to reduce inflammation.

Another thing we like about this option is that it is safe for folks going through chemotherapy. It’s a good option to help relieve chemo sores in your mouth from chemo treatment.  

Keep In Mind

This formula doesn’t have the best flavor, unfortunately.

Amazon PerioSciences AO ProRinse Hydrating Mouthwash with Antioxidants

Amazon


Pros

  • Formula contains antioxidants

  • Free of sodium lauryl sulfate, alcohol, and preservatives

  • Helps to hydrate mouth with sodium hyaluronate

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Not widely available

Key Specs

Active Ingredients: Sodium monofluorophosphate | Alcohol-Free: Yes | Flavor: None

Why We Recommend It

Dry mouth can lead to a host of dental issues, including bad breath, chapped lips, mouth sores, and more. Dr. Kahng likes PerioSciences mouthwash because it uses antioxidants in the formula, and the product is formulated without sodium lauryl sulfate, alcohol, or preservatives.

This mouthwash is interesting because it contains sodium hyaluronate, a derivative of hyaluronic acid, which you typically find in skincare products. This ingredient works to moisturize your mouth, helping to prevent dry mouth. This formula also contains zinc compounds and antioxidants to neutralize free radicals in your mouth and freshen your breath, too. 

Keep In Mind

At $19 per bottle, this mouthwash is pretty expensive. Another issue we have with this pick is that you won’t be able to easily find it at your local drugstore—you’ll have to order it online instead.

Amazon Colgate Peroxyl Antiseptic Mouthwash

Amazon


Pros

  • Hydrogen peroxide heals canker sores

  • The formula doesn’t contain alcohol

  • Works to prevent canker sores

Key Specs

Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide | Alcohol-Free: Yes | Flavor: Mint

Why We Recommend It

Dealing with canker sores can be super painful. The Colgate Peroxyl Antiseptic Mouthwash is a great option for those who experience these sores. It contains 1.5% hydrogen peroxide to help cleanse and heal canker sores, as well as any other irritations or wounds in your mouth. 

When using this mouthwash, it’s best to swish the liquid around in your mouth for one to two minutes for it to really work its magic. This pick can be used to treat active canker sores and, if used regularly, to help prevent them from forming in your gums.  

Keep In Mind

This formula can feel like a slight burning sensation once you start swishing it around in your mouth. However, that feeling subsides after a few seconds.

Amazon Dental Herb Company Tooth & Gums Tonic Mouthwash

Amazon


Key Specs

Active Ingredients: Cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, red thyme, echinacea, gotu kola | Alcohol-Free: Yes | Flavor: None

Why We Recommend It

If you prefer to go the natural route when it comes to treating gingivitis and fighting bad breath, consider this option from Dental Herb. Alice Hoang, DMD, of Brooklyn Mint Dental, recommends this formula to her patients because it’s a great natural alternative to other, more aggressive mouthwashes that contain alcohol. 

According to Dr. Hoang, this product breaks up biofilm that builds up from layers of bacteria forming. This product does a good job, but nothing beats flossing properly and brushing twice a day. Featuring ingredients like pure essential oils of peppermint, red thyme, lavender, and eucalyptus, this mouthwash is gentle on gums and is great for sensitive mouths, too. 

Keep In Mind

Because this formula is alcohol-free and contains mostly natural ingredients, you might find that it’s not as effective in keeping your breath fresh throughout the day.

Supersmile Whitening Pre-Rinse

Amazon


Pros

  • Contains Calprox, which helps whiten teeth

  • Tastes good

  • Eliminates plaque and other buildup

Key Specs

Active Ingredients: Spec | Alcohol-Free: Yes | Flavor: Spec

Why We Recommend It

We like this option for whitening because it contains a proprietary ingredient called Calprox, which works to gently bleach teeth. This is a form of calcium peroxide and can break down the protein pellicle. The protein pellicle is a film that covers teeth and is what bacteria and stains stick to. By dissolving this film, there’s nothing for bacteria, plaque, or stains to attach to, allowing your teeth to stay pearly white. 

This pick is a pre-rinse, meaning you should use it before you brush your teeth. We like that it’s alcohol-free, tastes good, and you only need to swish it in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. 

Keep In Mind

You won’t see results overnight with this mouthwash—you need to use it consistently to really reap its benefits.

Fresh Breath Oral Rinse Mild Flavor (Packaging May Vary)

Walgreens


Key Specs

Active Ingredients: Sodium chlorite | Alcohol-Free: Yes | Flavor: Mint

Why We Recommend It

Dr. Kahng recommends this product for her patients who experience bad breath. This formula has sodium chlorite, which is an oxygenating compound that works to fight bad breath after every use. It contains ingredients like glycerin, castor oil, sodium hydroxide, citric acid, and menthol to keep your mouth super clean and keep your breath fresh. 

We like that it’s effective at treating and preventing bad breath while also being gentle on gums, too. It does not contain any saccharin, sodium lauryl sulfate, or alcohol

Keep In Mind

Because this mouthwash doesn’t contain any alcohol, it might not feel as strong as other bad-breath-fighting mouthwashes you’ve tried in the past.

How We Selected the Best Mouthwashes for Gingivitis

Along with the recommendations from each dentist, we also looked at various criteria to determine the best mouthwashes for gingivitis. These are the criteria we used to pick the best products: 

  • Ingredients: We examined each mouthwash’s ingredients closely to determine which made our list. We looked for ingredients that reduce gingivitis and cleanse the mouth, such as fluoride, chlorhexidine, and hydrogen peroxide.  
  • Specific need: Sometimes, you might need mouthwash for additional dental issues such as canker sores, dry mouth, bad breath, or whitening. We took these needs into account when recommending products as a whole.
  • Flavor: We factored in the different flavors that mouthwashes can have, such as super strong minty flavors vs. more subtle mint flavors. 
  • Type: Some mouthwashes for gingivitis have alcohol in them, and others do not. This was something we factored in when deciding which mouthwash would work for different needs—for example, bad breath vs. sensitive gums. 

Which Mouthwash Is Right for You?

You might be experiencing other issues alongside gingivitis. The best mouthwash for you will depend on which oral issue you’re experiencing, such as:  

  • Sensitive teeth and gums: If you have sensitive teeth and gums, it’s probably best to opt for an alcohol-free mouthwash, as alcohol might be irritating to some. 
  • Canker sores: If you experience canker sores a lot, it’s best to look for a mouthwash that contains hydrogen peroxide to cleanse the sore, as well as keep your mouth clean of bacteria. 
  • Bad breath: Many mouthwashes can help reduce gingivitis, as well as promote good breath, too. Look for ingredients like sodium chlorite to target bad breath issues.

Our Experts

We asked multiple dentists for their recommendations for best mouthwashes for gingivitis. We also asked them about what to look for in a mouthwash for gingivitis, what to avoid, alcohol vs. alcohol-free mouthwashes, and more. These dentists include: 

  • Lauren Becker, DDS, a dentist at Lauren Becker DDS in New York City
  • Joyce Kahng, DDS, the owner of Orange And Magnolia Dental Studio
  • Alice Hoang, DMD, of Brooklyn Mint Dental
  • Daniel Rubinshtein, DDS, a celebrity cosmetic dentist in Brooklyn, New York

Why Trust Verywell Health

As a health writer with over eight years of experience, Brittany Leitner understands how important access to information is when it comes to making educated health decisions. She has interviewed dozens of medical experts, tested out hundreds of products, and aims to provide quality recommendations that won’t break the bank.

Daley Quinn is a freelance journalist, specializing in beauty and health, who has contributed to numerous publications, such as Elle, Real Simple, Allure, The Cut, WWD, and more. She also writes for her blog, The Daley Dose. She interviewed multiple dentists to determine the best mouthwashes for gingivitis on the market.





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