BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Health & Wellness

Best mouthwash for braces

Which mouthwash for braces is best?

Braces can create a lot of potential hiding spots for plaque and bacteria, so it’s important to take extra good care of your teeth. Along with brushing and flossing, mouthwash is an excellent addition to your oral hygiene routine. While most are fine to use with braces, the best mouthwashes for braces have fluoride and contain zero alcohol, which can sting and irritate sensitive spots caused by your orthodontic treatment. 

If you’re looking for a mouthwash that is recommended by orthodontists and also works to prevent cavities and stains, the alcohol-free Colgate Ortho Defense Phos Flur Anti-Cavity Fluoride Rinse is an excellent choice. 

What to know before you buy a mouthwash for braces

Fluoride is key  

When your braces are finally removed, it’s not uncommon to see white spots where the braces were due to demineralization from insufficient cleaning. Using a mouthwash with fluoride can go a long way to prevent this. Fluoride is used to strengthen and repair enamel and prevent cavities. A quality fluoride mouthwash can get to the hard-to-reach areas missed by brushing and flossing to ensure your teeth are as clean as they can be.

Gum health

Besides keeping your teeth clean, you also want to keep your gums healthy when you have braces. Choosing a formula that reduces plaque and tartar buildup can decrease the risk of gingivitis, a form of gum disease. If you notice your gums are tender or bleeding, an antigingivitis mouthwash can be used to clean those places your toothbrush and floss can’t reach and help to repair the gums.

Breath freshener

An added benefit of using a mouthwash when you have braces is that it also helps combat bad breath. Fresh breath is not only ideal when socializing, but it also indicates that your mouth is healthy and free of infection.

What to look for in a quality mouthwash for braces

Alcohol-free formula

Before purchasing mouthwash for braces, you should consider the alcohol content. Alcohol itself won’t harm the braces, but it will cause your mouth to be extra sensitive after use, which isn’t the best if your mouth is already sore from braces and other orthodontic appliances. An alcohol-free mouthwash prevents the burning sensation a regular mouthwash can cause while still getting your teeth and mouth clean. It also won’t dry out your mouth the way a mouthwash with alcohol can. 

Antibacterial properties

Since braces increase the risk of cavities and make it harder to clean around the teeth, most mouthwashes have antibacterial properties. This prevents the buildup of bacteria around the braces, which reduces the chance your teeth will have stains or white spots when your braces are removed. 

Flavors for kids 

Given that it’s more common for children and teenagers to have braces than adults, choosing a flavor that appeals to them is important so that they’ll actually want to use it. If your child isn’t a fan of mint, you can find mouthwashes in many kid-friendly flavors, such as watermelon, pineapple, grape and bubble gum. 

How much you can expect to spend on a mouthwash for braces

The best mouthwash for braces will cost anywhere from $2-$25, depending on the amount of mouthwash, the brand and the anticavity and teeth-whitening features that it possesses. 

Mouthwash for braces FAQ

How much mouthwash should you use?

A. When rinsing with mouthwash, check the instruction label for the right amount of mouthwash to swish with. The cap on the bottle is sometimes marked to show you exactly how much you should use. 

Should you use mouthwash before you brush and floss or after? 

A. Most dentists agree that it doesn’t matter when you use it. What is important is that you’re doing your best to keep your mouth healthy by cleaning out any food trapped in your braces after each meal — or, at the very least, twice a day. But remember, when brushing after a meal, it’s recommended to wait 30 minutes to an hour after eating, especially if you’ve consumed anything acidic, to avoid damaging your enamel. 

What are the best mouthwashes for braces to buy?

Top mouthwash for braces

Colgate Ortho Defense Phos Flur Anti-cavity Fluoride Rinse

What you need to know: Highly rated by orthodontists, this alcohol-free mouthwash prevents cavities and helps eliminate the possibility of tooth decay.

What you’ll love: It provides protection for teeth with braces and helps to prevent staining when the braces are removed. The phosphate helps build strong teeth, and it is alcohol-free. This mouthwash comes in a pack of two, and it is recommended by orthodontists.

What you should consider: The taste of this mouthwash is too strong for some users. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top mouthwash for braces for money

Crest Pro Health Advanced Enamel Care Fluoride Rinse 

What you need to know: This mouthwash with fluoride is formulated to rebuild weakened enamel, which is especially important for those with braces.  

What you’ll love: It prevents cavities and cleans teeth and gums for a fresh smile. It’s alcohol-free, so there’s no burning sensation.

What you should consider: Some users didn’t like the taste. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

ACT Total Care Anticavity Formula Fluoride Mouthwash

What you need to know: This nonirritating mouthwash does not contain alcohol and works to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. Users should not eat or drink 30 minutes before and after using the mouthwash. 

What you’ll love: It has a pleasant minty flavor that freshens the breath. The cap dispenses the exact amount of mouthwash needed for gargling. It’s recommended by dentists and is the leading mouthwash in fluoride content. 

What you should consider: Some users think that the taste of the mouthwash is too mild. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Share this post: