In my opinion, mouthwash or mouth rinse is not a critical part of an oral hygiene routine. You can have healthy teeth and a healthy mouth without it. That said, with my cavity-prone teeth, I do like to use it. Right now, I’m being a little extreme keeping three varieties on hand. See which ones and why.
Inexpensive and available in bulk, Kirkland Signature antiseptic mouthwash from Costco has all the same active ingredients as Listerine for less than half the price. Germs die, breath is freshened, we all win.
I can buy three 1.5 Liter bottles for around $10-11 at Costco. That gives me 225 uses of a 20mL dose for under $0.05 per use. Similarly sized bottles of Listerine (at Costco) run two for $12+ which is competitive with Target’s price for the same volume; that runs about $0.16 per use. Kirkland Signature is less than one-third of the cost-per-dose of Listerine and you get an extra bottle for around the same price – so you can go longer between restocking. Even though I think Listerine tastes a little better, definitely not enough to justify paying 3x+ more – and I love not having to buy as often.
Listerine Naturals Antiseptic
This variety of Listerine is dye-free – which means I can use it with my trays in to freshen up between brushing or first thing in the morning before I decide to eat/drink coffee. Ridiculously (since it theoretically costs less to produce) it costs a little more than conventional Listerine, and definitely more than the Kirkland mouthwash. At $6 per liter (less if you stumble across a coupon, iBotta rebate, Cartwheel deal, etc) and a 20mL dose, it costs $0.12 per use.
Note: Listerine Naturals comes in two varieties. There’s the Antiseptic, which I use to kill germs and prevent both plaque and gingivitis (basically, the same thing the Kirkland signature does). Then there’s the Anticavity, which is a fluoride-based rinse to help fortify teeth. I choose not to use it because the dosage is fairly low compared to the next item.
Act Restoring Mouthwash
Initially, I was using Colgate Phos-Flur. My orthodontist did not push it on me, but I saw it in my office and interpreted it as a recommendation. I liked it OK, but at over $12 a bottle (and approximately $0.26 per use) I needed to find another option.
Act Restoring mouthwash contains slightly more fluoride (if you buy the right varieties – be sure to check your labels!) and tends to run under $4 for 18oz (532 mL). A dose is 10mL, you’re looking at under $0.08 per use or under a third of the cost of Phos Flur. Conveniently, Act has this dosing mechanism; rather than uncapping and pouring, you gently squeeze the bottle and the neck fills with the right amount.
I’ve only tried the Mint (green) so far – flavor isn’t the best, but I’m not buying it for taste. They also have Cinnamon if you find their interpretation of Mint lackluster; I might try it next.