Bad breath is one of the biggest oral hygiene faux pas and something many of us try to avoid at all costs with the use of sprays, strips, gum, and oral rinses. And while it's never ideal to have bad breath (especially if you're around others), it happens to all of us. Luckily, there are ways to avoid the problem, and one of those ways is a really good mouthwash.
“Mouthwashes and oral rinses are a great addition to your regular oral hygiene routine,” says Brittany Ang, DMD MDS MBS, an orthodontist at Curve Orthodontics. She notes that, while they are not a replacement for brushing and flossing the teeth—which are essential for reducing and removing plaque on the teeth and gum—they can elevate your oral hygiene regimen and help combat bad breath. “Oral rinses help to clean those hard-to-reach places where your toothbrush may not, such as the back of the tongue, throat, tonsils, and other spots,” she adds.
Here’s the thing, though: Not all oral rinses or mouthwashes created equal. In fact, some are significantly better than others, due to their active ingredients. The TheraBreath Oral Rinses ($18 for a two-pack) are a line of superior mouthwashes that, according to users can have a significant impact on oral health, especially when it comes to bad breath. Up ahead, we dive a little deeper to find out why that is.
How TheraBreath Oral Rinse works
Bacteria is to blame for the cause of bad breath. And, while brushing and flossing teeth is especially important for preventing bad breath, mouthwash can enhance those efforts a little more and reach the areas in the mouth that don’t typically see as much love (or contact) from these good dental habits. The TheraBreath Oral Rinses take it one step further with their potent ingredient lists, helping to ban bad breath for up to 24 hours (yup—24 hours).
“One of the main ingredients of TheraBreath Healthy Gums is cetyl pyridinium chloride (CPC),” Ang notes. “This compound has both bactericidal and fungicidal activity, meaning it has the ability to kill both bacteria and yeasts.” Because of these properties, the CPC ingredient works to reduce existing dental plaque and inhibits new plaque growth, as well as prevents the growth of bacteria and yeasts in the mouth.
“The chemical structure of CPC is effective in preventing bad breath over an extended period because it is retained in the mouth, meaning it continues killing bacteria for a period of time after using the rinse,” Ang adds. In addition to the Healthy Gums oral rinse, TheraBreath also makes a basic rinse called Fresh Breath Oral Rinse ($15 for a two-pack), which has a main ingredient of sodium chlorite. “Sodium chlorite is an oxygenating agent that kills anaerobic bacteria that are notoriously responsible for bad breath,” Ang explains.
Does it really work for 24 hours? Kind of.
One of the biggest claims connected to TheraBreath Oral Rinses is that they can ban bad breath for up to 24 hours, and many customers swear by it because of that. However, there’s a bit of a catch in order to achieve such impressive results—and it involves some effort. Ang says that the research conducted by TheraBreath demonstrates that the rinses are effective for more than 12 hours. Since the brand recommends using the mouthwash twice a day, that’s where the 24-hour timeline comes into play. So, in order to keep bad breath at bay all day long, it’s on you to remember to swish the oral rinse around a couple of times a day. Otherwise, the rinse might not work as well as it claims.
With that said, the results might not be the same for everyone, even if used twice daily. According to Dr. Yenile Y. Pinto, DDS, “Many factors, including your home hygiene routine, diet, use of tobacco products, active gum disease, and certain health conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or chronic bronchitis can all contribute to bad breath.” And, the more factors you have present, the less time your breath will stay fresh, no matter how amazing an oral rinse might be. “TheraBreath is great, but if you don’t floss and brush regularly, and you smoke or drink coffee all day, its effect will likely wear off quickly,” she adds.
In addition to combatting bad breath, TheraBreath oral rinses can also support efforts against cavities, which is an added perk of using this mouthwash, says Dr. Kate Zoumboukos, DMD, of SW Austin Dental. “TheraBreath contains xylitol, which is a natural sugar alcohol that prevents cavities,” she explains. “It works by inhibiting the bacteria that cause cavities.” That being said, it’s not recommended to only use mouthwash to ward off cavities. To prevent cavities, Ang says you should incorporate oral rinse in your routine, in addition to other habits such as “brushing, flossing, and regular exams and professional cleanings with your oral healthcare provider.”
TheraBreath vs. Listerine
TheraBreath recently went viral on social media as an alternative to Listerine for bad breath. But, is it really better? According to Ang and Pinto, it can be, but it doesn’t have to do with preventing bad breath.
“Listerine is a popular mouthwash because it is effective at killing bacteria and leaves you with that tingling fresh mouth feeling,” Ang explains. But, just like a face wash with a slight burning sensation, that sensation isn’t necessarily a good thing. “However, Listerine—particularly with alcohol—can be very harsh on the oral tissues, and adverse effects may include dryness, burning, and pain after use,” Ang adds. Pinto adds that the alcohol found in some varieties of Listerine can also create conditions that are conducive to bad breath-causing bacteria, too.
When comparing mouth rinses, Pinto says the pH level is also critical to consider. “A pH level of 7 is neutral,” she notes, adding that anything below 7 is acidic and anything above is basic. The reason why pH level is so important is that the more acidic a product (including food and beverages) the more it can soften the protective enamel layer of your teeth, which can cause erosion over time. “Most mouth rinses, including Listerine are acidic with a pH of 8.2,” Pinto notes. “TheraBreath will not cause any harm to your enamel, which is why I prefer it.”
Again—while TheraBreath isn't a miracle-worker exactly, it seems to be the most superior option when it comes to getting fresher breath for longer. We'll take it!
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