If you have puffy or red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush, you may be dealing with gingivitis, the clinical term for a type of inflammation of the gums caused by sticky plaque buildup on the teeth. Along with a great toothpaste for your gums and good daily brushing and flossing habits, using the best mouthwash for gingivitis may help treat and prevent gingivitis and could be beneficial to add to your daily dental-care routine.
According to Dr. Steffany Mohan, DDS, the owner of Iowa-based Urbandale Smiles: "With so many varieties and brands available, choosing the right mouthwash can be confusing."
That's why Dr. Mohan recommends that shoppers narrow down mouthwash options by looking for ones that have received the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance. The best mouthwash for gingivitis should also be labeled as antibacterial, anti-plaque, or anti-gingivitis and contain plaque-fighting ingredients like cetylpyridinium chloride, thymol, eucalyptol, menthol, or methyl salicylate, according to Dr. Mohan.
"These mouthwashes help boost dental care habits by killing potentially damaging bacteria," Dr. Mohan tells Bustle. You may also want to find a mouthwash that doesn't contain alcohol, especially if you are prone to sensitivity, adds Dr. Mohan.
"Most of the marketed mouthwashes contain alcohol, specifically ethanol, which is effective at killing germs and bacteria in your mouth and tends to decrease plaque buildup. However, they may lead to a burning sensation, unpleasant taste, and mouth dryness. An alcohol-free mouthwash creates more of a balance in your mouth and leads to healthier teeth and gums."
Take a look below at the three top picks for the best mouthwash for gingivitis.
Editor's note: If you suffer from gingivitis and have not already, make an appointment with your dentist to talk through your specific dental history and which solutions might be best for you.
1. The Best Overall: Crest Gum Care Mouthwash
Stock up on mouthwash with this four-pack of Crest gum care mouthwash. Not only is this mouthwash completely alcohol-free, it is specifically formulated for optimal gum health. It contains the dentist-recommended active ingredient cetylpyridinium chloride, which helps reduce plaque and inflammation around the gums and kills off bacteria that can cause gingivitis and other dental problems. This mouthwash comes in a cool wintergreen flavor that will keep your breath fresh.
What fans say: “I've been using this product for a week and my gums feel much healthier! They no longer bleed when I brush. It leaves my mouth feeling so clean. I've been using Gum Detoxify toothpaste (also made by Crest) and this made a great addition to my morning routine.”
2. The Runner-Up: Listerine Advanced Defense Gum Treatment Mouthwash
Although it's a bit more expensive per bottle, this mint-flavored Listerine Advanced Defense Gum Treatment mouthwash is another good option for a mouthwash to help heal and prevent gingivitis. Its active ingredient is ethyl lauroyl arginate, an FDA-approved antimicrobial and preservative that helps tackle germs that cause gingivitis. And while it does contain alcohol, this mouthwash is a white liquid that won't stain your teeth or temporarily tint them the way that some blue mouthwashes do.
What fans say: “This stuff works. It’s the best mouthwash I’ve ever used. It makes my teeth look whiter, and my mouth feels much cleaner, and gingivitis symptoms did go away if I used it daily.”
3. The Best Natural: Listerine Naturals Antiseptic Mouthwash
Made with a 99% natural formula that’s free of artificial sweeteners, fluoride, and dyes, this Listerine Naturals antiseptic mouthwash has active ingredients eucalyptol, menthol, methyl salicylate, and thymol that are highly effective for treating gingivitis. It contains alcohol and reportedly kills up to 99% of germs that cause plaque. Plus, it's colorless and is flavored with an herbal mint taste. (Although some reviewers say that the flavor may take some getting used to since the formula is free of artificial sweeteners.)
What fans say: “I love this stuff. It makes my gums feel better without tinting my teeth blue. It keeps my breath fresh and works just as well as the other one.”
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