According to the American Dental Association, if a particular mouthwash has the "ADA Seal" on it, the mouthwash has been objectively evaluated for safety and effectiveness by a body of certified and learned scientific experts, officially called the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs.
What does mouthwash do?
Mouthwash has many uses. According to the ADA, it freshens breath, helps to prevent tooth decay, reduces plaque, prevents and reduces gingivitis, and reduces the speed at which tartar forms. Consumers can find ADA accepted mouthwash without a prescription. (Some mouthwash, nowadays, can even whiten teeth, but that's considered a cosmetic use.)
What ingredients are found in mouthwash?
The ingredients can include cleaning agents, alcohol, water, flavoring and coloring.
The active ingredients can be placed into four general categories: (to quote the ADA)
1. Antimicrobial agents act directly on oral bacteria to help reduce plaque, decrease the severity of gingivitis and control bad breath
2. Fluoride helps reduce tiny lesions (tooth decay) on tooth enamel and make teeth more resistant to decay
3. Astringent salts can serve as temporary deodorizers that mask bad breath
4. Odor neutralizers act by chemically inactivating odor causing compounds
It's easy to see why you should use mouthwash every day! Just be sure to look for the ADA label on the container.