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Mouthwash can be an excellent way to clean your mouth and freshen your breath, but standard mouthwashes can contain potentially irritating ingredients. “Alcohol is drying to the oral cavity,” Dr. Tiffanie Garrison-Jeter, D.M.D., a dentist at Definition Dental Studio tells Byrdie. “And a dry mouth makes an environment that’s more prone to getting cavities.” Dr. Garrison-Jeter says other common mouthwash ingredients, like artificial flavors, synthetic dyes, and parabens can also be irritating.
These ingredients may not cause a problem for everyone. But if you find them irritating—or if you just want to cut down on artificial ingredients—natural mouthwashes may be a great option. Natural mouthwashes tend to be partially or entirely made of natural ingredients, and they’re often free from alcohol and other potential irritants. Of course, some natural mouthwashes are more effective than others, so Dr. Garrison-Jeter recommends talking to your dentist before trying a new product—and keeping up with your 6-month check-ins to make sure everything’s working the way it should.
Intrigued by the idea of trying a natural mouthwash? We don’t blame you. Read on to learn more about what natural mouthwashes are out there—and to see our favorites.
Best Overall: TheraBreath Fresh Breath Oral Rinse
Active Ingredients: OXYD-8 | Flavor: Mint
TheraBreath’s Fresh Breath Oral Rinse is widely beloved for its ability to combat bad breath. And the good news is: It doesn’t use alcohol to get the job done. Instead, the mouthwash harnesses the power of oxygen—yes, oxygen—to cut down on stink. Of course, oxygen isn’t an ingredient in the mouthwash, but OXYD-8, a compound that produces oxygen, is. Since the germs that cause bad breath are anaerobic, they can’t survive in an oxygen-rich environment. So, according to the brand, one quick swish of TheraBreath should give you fresh breath for up to 24 hours—no alcohol required.
Best Budget: Listerine Naturals Antiseptic Mouthwash
Active Ingredients: Peppermint, eucalyptus, and thyme | Flavor: Mint
Listerine is an absolute classic in the mouthwash space, and the brand’s Naturals Antiseptic Mouthwash offers a more natural way to rid your mouth of bad breath and cut down on plaque and bacteria. The formula draws on peppermint, eucalyptus, and thyme, and since the mouthwash is budget-friendly, it makes a great go-to. The only downside? Listerine’s Naturals Antiseptic Mouthwash does contain some alcohol. The brand calls the mouthwash “99% natural,” which may be an acceptable tradeoff for some and an absolute turnoff for others.
Best Gentle: The Natural Dentist Healthy Gums Mouth Rinse
Active Ingredients: Aloe vera | Flavor: Mint
Natural Dentist’s Healthy Gums Mouthwash is an excellent option—especially if you’re dealing with sensitive or bleeding gums. The mouthwash is free of common irritants, like alcohol, preservatives, and harsh chemicals. And it’s also free of artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners. Instead of using abrasive ingredients to cleanse, the mouthwash relies on soothing aloe vera, instead. The brand claims this ingredient will combat plaque and bacteria while being gentle on your gums—giving you a less intense way to get a solid clean.
Best Unflavored: CloSYS Ultra Sensitive Mouthwash
Flavor: Flavor-free or mint
CloSYS’s Ultra Sensitive Mouthwash puts you in control of how your mouthwash tastes. The alcohol-free mouthwash comes completely unflavored and ships alongside a (peppermint oil-based) Flavor Control Dropper you can use to add a minty flavor to your mouthwash as you see fit. Add a little, add a lot, or leave your mouthwash completely unflavored. This kind of control is great for those with sensitive gums—and for those who just hate the way mouthwash tastes.
Best Drugstore: hello Naturally Healthy Antigingivitis Mouthwash
Active Ingredients: Aloe vera | Flavor: Mint, watermelon, or peppermint
If you’re looking for a natural mouthwash you can score at your local drugstore, Hello’s Oral Care Mouthwash is an excellent pick. The mouthwash is both fluoride- and alcohol-free, instead drawing on soothing aloe vera, which the brand claims will cut down on plaque and bacteria. The mouthwash comes in three different flavors—mint, watermelon, and peppermint—so it should be easy to find an option that suits your palate. (That said, it’s worth noting that the peppermint-flavored mouthwash is menthol-based, not aloe vera-based.
Best Bulk Buy: Tom's of Maine Refreshing Mint Sea Salt Mouthwash
Active Ingredients: Sea salt and aloe vera | Flavor: Mint
Looking to stock up on a ton of natural mouthwash all at once? Tom’s of Maine has you covered. The brand sells its alcohol-free mouthwash in budget-friendly six-packs—giving you enough mouthwash to get you through at least three to four months. The mouthwash draws on a combination of sea salt and aloe vera, which the brand claims will help to clean your mouth, and since it also contains mint, you can rest assured knowing you’ll get that minty freshness you crave.
Best for Sensitive Gums: CloSYS Sensitive Mouthwash
Flavor: Flavor-free or mint
Mouthwashes can be intense and abrasive, but CloSYS’s Sensitive Antimicrobial Mouthwash promises to be gentle instead. Like its ultra-sensitive formula listed above, this mouthwash is free of common irritants, like alcohol and sulfates, and ships lightly flavored to further cut down on burning and irritation. It also comes with a Flavor Control Dropper you can use to add flavor to your mouthwash as you see fit. This lets you control exactly how minty your mouthwash is, making it easy to find a balance between “flavorful” and “gentle” that works for you.
Best With Fluoride: Tom's of Maine Fresh Mint Whole Care Mouthwash
Active Ingredients: Fluoride | Flavor: Mint
Many natural mouthwashes are fluoride-free. Since some people are sensitive or allergic to fluoride, this makes a ton of sense. But since fluoride boasts benefits—like cutting down on cavities and tooth decay—it also makes sense to want some in your mouthwash. If you’re looking for a natural mouthwash that comes equipped with fluoride, Tom's of Maine’s Natural Fluoride Mouthwash is a solid choice: The alcohol-free formula can help combat cavities and strengthen your teeth, and it boasts a minty flavor that promises to leave your breath feeling fresh for hours.
Best with Activated Charcoal: hello Activated Charcoal Extra Freshening Mouthwash
Active Ingredients: Activated charcoal, tee tree oil, coconut oil, and mint | Flavor: Mint
Activated charcoal is a recent favorite in the beauty space, thanks to its ability to bind with other substances and reportedly whiten teeth. (And while the scientific literature is still pretty limited on that last point, people do swear by the stuff.) Hello’s Oral Care Activated Charcoal Mouthwash is a natural mouthwash that draws on tea tree oil, mint, and—you guessed it—activated charcoal, which the brand claims will cleanse your mouth, freshen your breath, and whiten your teeth. The mouthwash also contains soothing coconut oil for good measure.
Best with Hydrogen Peroxide: Lumineux Oral Essentials Whitening Mouthwash
Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
Since hydrogen peroxide is a chemical, it’s not the kind of thing you’ll find in most natural mouthwashes. But since it promises to whiten your teeth, there’s a reason you might want some in your go-to oral rinse. Lumineux’s Oral Essentials Teeth Whitening Mouthwash is alcohol-free, fluoride-free, and preservative-free—and it’s all-natural except for the hydrogen peroxide. So you can enjoy the potential teeth-whitening benefits of hydrogen peroxide without exposing yourself to other chemicals you’d rather avoid.
Best Fruity: Oxyfresh Fresh Breath Lemon Mint Mouthwash
Active Ingredients: Aloe vera | Flavor: Lemon mint
When it comes to cleaning your mouth, “fruity” and “fresh” aren’t always synonymous. But if you’re a fan of fruity flavor, Oxyfresh’s Fresh Breath Lemon Mint Mouthwash offers a way to get it while freshening your breath. The alcohol-free mouthwash draws on aloe vera to cleanse, and it’s loaded with essential oils that promise to pack your mouth with flavor. Notes of lemon, orange, grapefruit, and lime combine with spearmint to create a delicious lemon mint aftertaste—one sure to leave your mouth feeling and tasting refreshed.
Best Cinnamon: JASON Healthy Mouth Tartar Control Cinnamon Clove Fresh Breath Mouthwash
Active Ingredients: Tea tree oil, grapefruit extract, perilla seed extract, and aloe vera | Flavor: Cinnamon and cloves
Not a fan of mint? No problem. Jason’s Healthy Mouth Mouthwash tastes like cinnamon and cloves, instead—making it a great alternative for those who prefer spicier flavors. The natural mouthwash is formulated with a combination of tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract, perilla seed extract, and aloe vera, which the brand claims can help cut down on plaque and soothe your gums. And since it’s free of alcohol, parabens, and other common irritants, it makes a particularly great go-to.
Best Mouthwash Tablets: Active Wow 24K White Natural Mouthwash Tabs
Active Ingredients: Baking soda, spirulina, and sorbitol | Flavor: Mint
Looking for a mouthwash you can bring with you on the go? Active Wow’s Mouthwash Tabs might just fit the bill. The mouthwash tablets offer a unique alternative to oral rinses. Simply pop one in your mouth, chew for 10 to 30 seconds, and spit. The mouthwash tablets draw on natural ingredients like baking soda, spirulina, and sorbitol, which the brand claims will cleanse the mouth. Plus, they get their flavor from natural mint. Sure, they might not replace your go-to oral rinse, but they do offer a clever way to freshen your breath in a pinch.
Finding the right natural mouthwash may take a little trial and error. But there are some particularly great places to start. TheraBreath’s Fresh Breath Oral Rinse (view at Walgreens) is a popular option that promises to cut down on stink and bacteria without using any alcohol. And if you’re prone to irritation, CloSYS’s Ultra Sensitive Mouthwash (view at Walmart)—an ultra-gentle, alcohol-free mouthwash—may be an excellent pick.
What to Look for in a Natural Mouthwash
Reading the label might seem tedious, but it’s basically always worth the effort. Some natural mouthwashes are loaded with natural ingredients, but they’re not actually all-natural. And if there are certain ingredients you’re hoping to avoid, you’ll want to double-check to make sure they haven’t snuck in. Dr. Garrison-Jeter says to be sure also to read the fine print, as some products will only list the main ingredients in bold. “It’s crucial for those with severe allergies to check the label in its entirety to avoid adverse reactions,” she adds.
Mouthwash is the kind of thing you’re supposed to use every day, so you want to make sure you like the way yours tastes. Some natural mouthwashes boast classic mint flavors, while others taste like cinnamon—and some others even taste like fruit.
Just like standard mouthwashes, natural mouthwashes are available in different variations—and with different added ingredients. If you’re looking for a natural mouthwash that can also remove surface stains from your teeth, Dr. Garrison-Jeter suggests using a formula with hydrogen peroxide. “It’s the active ingredient in professional whitening products that gives you the least amount of sensitivity after use,” she says. Alternatively, if you’re looking to prevent tooth decay, she suggests a natural formula that contains fluoride. To avoid an acidic mouth pH (which leads to weakened enamel, and thus, cavities), she recommends baking soda. “It will neutralize that acid produced by the foods and beverages you consume,” she said.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Tiffanie Garrison-Jeter, D.M.D., is a dentist at Definition Dental Studio in Nolensville, Tennessee.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Lindsey Lanquist has years of experience in the health and beauty space. And as an avid shopper, she knows what a bummer a bad product can be. That’s why she makes sure to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and widely beloved by those who’ve tried them.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any natural mouthwashes from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.
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