The 11 Best Breath Freshening Products, According to Dentists

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According to our experts, it's a common misconception that the tingly and burning sensation from alcohol-infused mouthwash gets mouths cleaner. “Alcohol in mouth rinses tends to make a patient feel like it's effective because of that intense burn you get, however, it tends to dehydrate the mouth and irritate [gum] tissue — plus, it also kills bacteria in our mouths that we actually need," says Kalasho. "In addition, a study recently published by the Journal of Oral Maxillofacial Research stated that the alcohol component of mouthwashes affords little additional benefit to the other active ingredients in terms of plaque and gingivitis control.

There's legitimate data to back up the efficacy of water flossers like the Waterpik, too. "Research has shown that patients are less likely to develop gum disease and tooth decay with daily use of water flossers," says Kalasho. "[They] are known both clinically and scientifically to remove more plaque and debris in treated areas than flossing does. " And less plaque and bacteria ultimately equates to cleaner, fresher breath.

Ask any dentist how to banish bad breath and they'll tell you that keeping your tongue clean is a key factor, as this is where most of the odor-causing bacteria forms. "Bad breath or halitosis is the result of bacteria in plaque that accumulates on the tongue and other oral surfaces," says double board-certified dentist Rhonda Kalasho. "Managing that bacteria, instead of masking it, is the most imperative thing to do.

Go Smile Stain Erasers work twofold to remove stubborn discoloration and coffee, tea, or red wine stains from your teeth with hydrogen peroxide, while freshening up your breath at the same time. "They're inexpensive, readily available, and fast and easy to use," says dentist Julie Karnazes.

It's also a great alternative to floss for anyone with joint pain such as arthritis. "A Waterpik is super helpful with general irrigation to remove large particles [and] for patients who have limited dexterity," says Fung. "Traditional flossing may be difficult and so the water pressure from a Waterpik can help with this.

Fung says that breath freshening sprays do work, but the more effective ones have more than just minty ingredients that mask odor rather than killing the bacteria that causes it. “Some of the ingredients to look for aside from fresh smelling mint or peppermint is xylitol that has antibacterial properties and zinc gluconate, an oxidizing agent that can provide anti mal-odor properties,” says Fung.

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