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  • Dr. Pearl E. Whites

What is the Best Alkaline Mouthwash?

Updated: 2 hours ago

A patient told us the only soda she drinks is diet and felt her teeth should still be protected since the soda is sugar free. So why is she still getting cavities and what does soda have anything to do with mouthwash? Glad you asked.

The Science

The bacteria in your mouth cannot start creating cavities UNLESS it is in an acidic environment from 0-5.5pH.

It does not matter if the food or drink you put in your mouth has "zero sugar," you still can get cavities if your mouth is bathed long enough in acids. On average it takes your mouth about 1 hour to return from an acidic to neutral environment. Most things we eat or drink cause our mouth to become acidic so the sooner after eating or drinking that we can return our mouth to a more neutral pH the harder it is to get cavities. This is why alkaline products are important. On the pH scale from 0-14, the greater from 7 (neutral) the stronger the alkaline product.

The carbonation and/or flavoring not only in diet soda but all drinks (juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, regular soda, and water bottles) are ALL acidic.




 
Mouthwash and Acidity

We suggest everyone use mouthwash because they have beneficial advantages. They reach areas that floss and toothpaste do not. Particular mouthwashes aid in treating gingivitis, bad breath, cavity formation and prevention, etc. Though mouthwash should never replace brushing and flossing it is an excellent adjunct in caring for your teeth.


However, most mouthwashes on the market are acidic. This means that though some effectively kill off bacteria that cause cavities, their acidity creates an environment for the same bacteria to grow back even faster and almost nullifies what you're trying to accomplish.


What is an alkaline mouthwash? Simply put, it's any mouthwash with a pH that is NOT acidic. We tested nearly all mouthwashes on the market. See the table below if your brand is alkaline or acidic.

 
Mouthwashes to AVOID that are Acidic Enough to Cause Cavities

The pH of the following mouthwashes are in the acidic range under the 5.5pH. Surprisingly most of these are popular mouthwashes from Listerine, Colgate, Scope, and even the natural mouthwash like Toms of Maine or Natural Dentist. If you're going on a trip or something short these are fine, but if this is part of your regular daily routine then consider a different mouthwash.

Comparing Sodas to Common Mouthwash pH Levels

**Betadine, Colgate Optic White, Colgate Peroxyl, Colgate Total Enamel Health, Colgate Total Gum Health, Crest 3D Whitening, Crest Pro-Health, Equate Antiseptic Mouthwash, Equate Tartar Control+, Listerine Cool Mint Antiseptic, Listerine Smart, Listerine Total Care, Listerine Zero, the Natural Dentist Anti-Gingivitis Rinse, Scope Outlast, Smartmouth, Sonicare Breath-Rx, Toms of Maine (Wicked Fresh)

 
Good "Alkaline" Mouthwashes

These not only do what they advertise but also create an environment that prevent cavities. Pick one of these to use and feel confident that you are protecting your teeth.

**All ACTs (Dry Mouth, Bubble Gum, Restoring, Wild Watermelon, Zero Alcohol), Biotene, Equate Anticavity Fluoride Mouthwash, Hello Activated Charcoal, and Peridex (prescription).

 
The Top 3 Alkaline Mouthwashes

If you are using mouthwash to avoid cavities then the better ones hands down are the more alkaline brands ranging from 8.01-9.82 pH. This is what Dr. Nelson endorses: Plax, Therabreath, or CTx3. All 3 are amazing and offer additional benefits to preventing cavities, treating gingivitis, antibacterial, loosen plaque, and address bad breath.

 
Conclusion

This study only focuses on acidic levels of mouthwashes and does not discuss the benefits of particular ingredients (Article on June 2022). Those benefits are trumped by how acidic a mouthwash is though. Know that nearly all mouthwashes have their benefits if used in short-term spurts. However, if your goal is to do all you can to not get cavities, we suggest using a mouthwash that does not foster cavity-causing bacteria to quickly grow after mouthwash use. Any of the outlined "good" mouthwashes fill that role though the best 3 alkaline mouthwashes in this case are Plax, Therabreath, or CTx3 from Carifree.

Mouthwashes in Alphabetical Order

Mouthwash

pH

ACT Dry Mouth

6.36

ACT Bubble Gum

6.94

ACT Cinnamon (Zero Alcohol)

6.37

ACT Restoring Cool Mint

6.51

ACT Wild Watermelon

6.91

Betadine Antiseptic

3.49

Biotene

6.63

Colgate Optic White Mouthwash

4.92

Colgate Peroxyl

4.17

Colgate Total Enamel Health

3.50

Colgate Total Gum Health

4.57

Crest 3D White Brilliance

5.04

Crest 3D White Diamond

3.43

Crest 3D White Glamorous Multicare Whitening

5.55

Crest 3D White Multi-Care Whitening Rinse

4.98

Crest Pro Health Clean Mint

4.65

Crest Pro-Hezlth Advanced Extra Whitening Alcohol Free

3.33

CTx3

9.00

Equate Antiseptic Mouthrinse

4.49

Equate Restoring Anticavity Fluoride

7.12

Equate Tartar Control Plus

3.69

GotFreshBreath

4.67

Hello Activated Charcoal

7.52

Listerine Cool Mint Anitseptic

3.89

Listerine Smart Mouth Mouthwash

3.23

Listerine Total Care

3.07

Listerine Zero

4.29

Natural Dentist Anti-Gingivitis Rinse

3.02

Peridex

5.61

Plax

8.01

Scope Outlast

5.21

Smartmouth Clinical DDS

5.00

Smartmouth Dry Mouth

5.25

Smartmouth (Original)

5.43

Sonicare Breath-Rx

4.10

Therabreath

9.82

Toms of Main (Wicked Fresh)

4.13

Red acidic range where cavity-causing bacteria thrive

Green above that acidic range

Blue therapeutic mouthwash

Mouthwash (Most to Least Acidic)

​(0-5.5pH Create Environment for Cavities)

Mouthwash

pH

Natural Dentist Anti-Gingivitis Rinse

3.02

Listerine Total Care

3.07

Listerine Smart Mouth Mouthwash

3.23

Crest Pro-Health Advanced Extra Whitening

3.33

Crest 3D White Diamond

3.43

Betadine Antiseptic

3.49

Colgate Total Enamel Health

3.50

Equate Tartar Control Plus

3.69

Listerine Cool Mint Antiseptic

3.89

Sonicare Breath-Rx

4.10

Toms of Main (Wicked Fresh)

4.13

Colgate Peroxyl

4.17

Listerine Zero

4.29

Equate Antiseptic Mouthrinse

4.49

Colgate Total Gum Health

4.57

Crest Pro Health Clean Mint

4.65

GotFreshBreath

4.67

Colgate Optic White Mouthwash

4.92

Crest 3D White Multi-Care Whitening Rinse

4.98

Smartmouth Clinical DDS

5.00

Crest 3D White Brilliance

5.04

Scope Outlast

5.21

Smartmouth Dry Mouth

5.25

Smartmouth (Original)

5.43

Peridex

5.61

ACT Dry Mouth

6.36

ACT Cinnamon (Zero Alcohol)

6.37

ACT Restoring Cool Mint

6.51

Biotene

6.63

ACT Wild Watermelon

6.91

ACT Bubble Gum

6.94

Equate Restoring Anticavity Fluoride

7.12

Hello Activated Charcoal

7.52

Plax

8.01

CTx3

9.00

Therabreath

9.82


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