Therapeutic Mouthwash Ingredients

Due to the wide variety of mouthwash products that are available for purchase over-the-counter, you may find it challenging to select a mouth rinse that meets your needs. Cosmetic mouthwash only freshens the breath and provides a pleasant flavor. However, a therapeutic mouthwash can have multiple benefits, such as antibacterial properties. Nevertheless, the benefits received from a mouth rinse depend on its ingredients.

Here are some of the ingredients that may be found in a therapeutic mouthwash and how they may benefit you.


Chlorhexidine is an antimicrobial agent found in many therapeutic mouthwash products. The chemical eliminates oral bacteria without drying out the soft tissues of the oral cavity. 

Due to its antibacterial properties, mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine can help promote better gum health and less tooth decay. The inflammation that leads to gum disease is often caused by oral acids that are released by microbes in the mouth.

As oral bacteria digest carbohydrates that are left in the mouth after meals and snacks, the microorganisms release digestive byproducts into the oral cavity, including acids. These acids not only inflame the gums, but they also demineralize the tooth enamel to cause dental decay. By eliminating large numbers of oral bacteria, a mouth rinse that includes chlorhexidine can lessen your risk of oral health problems.

Essential Oils

Some mouthwash products contain essential oils that soothe the gums, reduce the number of oral microbes, and freshen the breath. A few essential oils that may be included in a therapeutic mouth rinse include:

  • Menthol. Menthol is derived from mint.
  • Eucalyptol. Eucalyptol is obtained from eucalyptus. 
  • Thymol. Thymol is extracted from thyme.
  • Methyl salicylate. This substance comes from the wintergreen plant.


Fluoride is also included in many mouthwash varieties that have therapeutic properties. The fluoride helps to remineralize the teeth to prevent tooth decay.

Fluoride works by coating the surface of the tooth enamel and attracting minerals, such as phosphorous and calcium, that may have been dissolved by bacterial acids. As the minerals are drawn to the fluoride, they combine with it to create a new tooth enamel material. The new enamel repairs weakened sites on the tooth and is more resistant to decay than the original enamel.

Like other products that include considerable amounts of fluoride, a fluoride mouth rinse should not be swallowed.

To learn more about therapeutic mouth rinses, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.