The Benefits of Mouthwash

Last Updated April 2023

We all know that regular brushing and flossing is essential for oral health and hygiene. But did you know that brushing alone on average only removes 42% of accumulated plaque each time.

Adding a LISTERINE® mouthwash that contains fluoride to your oral hygiene routine can help strengthen teeth and reduce plaque and prevent tartar – the major causes of gum disease.

Here, we’ll discuss how to make the most of mouthwash, the different types available, and the long-term benefits of mouthwash as part of your daily oral hygiene routine.

On this page:

What are the different types of mouthwash?

Mouthwash can have a number of benefits, from helping to freshen breath to whitening teeth, depending on the ingredients in the mouthwash formulation.


Fluoride is present in a number of mouthwashes, including LISTERINE® Advanced Nightly Reset. It is a common ingredient in toothpaste, so it’s well known for its oral health benefits.

Incorporating a fluoride mouthwash as part of your oral hygiene routine helps remineralise enamel (the white, outer layer of your teeth) to strengthen teeth. This can help protect against cavities and tooth decay.

Essential oils

Essential oils are at the core of LISTERINE® mouthwash formulations. We use a unique four-ingredient formula of thymol, eucalyptol, menthol, and methyl salicylate. These ingredients penetrate the biofilm to help reduce plaque and kill bacteria.

Mouthwashes containing essential oils, can also be a good option for combatting bad breath. They can help freshen breath by killing bad breath causing germs.


Some mouthwashes contain an ingredient called chlorhexidine. This ingredient targets and reduces bacteria in your mouth.

Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC)

Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) is an ingredient in some mouthwashes. Using a mouthwash that contains this antimicrobial agent, alongside toothbrushing and flossing, can help protect your teeth and gums.

Teeth whitening agents

Some mouthwashes are specifically designed to help lift stains from the tooth’s surface and make them look whiter. Non-abrasive whitening technology that does not harm the enamel is used in our LISTERINE® Advanced White mouthwash, which is clinically proven to give you whiter teeth in just one week.

Other mouthwashes for whiter teeth may contain a chemical called hydrogen peroxide or whitening agents, including polyphosphates.

What are the benefits of mouthwash?

Let’s look at some benefits of mouthwash.

Reaches where brushing can’t

Brushing just your teeth only targets 25% of the mouth*. Mouthwash targets virtually 100% of the mouth. Adding a LISTERINE® mouthwash into your oral care routine can penetrate deep into plaque and kill up to 99% of germs left after brushing. LISTERINE® Total Care mouthwashes can also reduce plaque by up to 56% more than brushing alone.

Maintains healthy gums

Mouthwash, such as LISTERINE® Total Care, can reduce plaque and maintain healthy gums.

Helps freshen breath

LISTERINE® Total Care kills up to 99% of plaque and bad breath causing germs left behind after brushing and helps provide up to 24-hour fresh breath protection.

Helps treat gum disease

LISTERINE® Advanced Defence Gum Treatment is clinically proven to treat gum disease. It works by creating an invisible protective shield, which helps to prevent plaque germs from attaching to the gums. This allows your gums to repair and restore themselves.

*From study representing teeth area measurements.