Got a love-hate relationship with your mouthwash? You know what we’re talking about ... after that initial burn, your mouth feels pretty fresh. But one hour and two cups of coffee later, what happens? Yep, the dreaded DRY MOUTH and the "taste" of bad breath creeping in. Not OK!
That’s why many swishers have made the switch to stabilized chlorine dioxide mouthwash. Keep reading to see why it’s a favorite of dentists ... and why you’ll love it too!
What Is Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide?
We get it: chlorine dioxide isn’t exactly a warm-fuzzy name. Maybe you’re thinking, "Is that like bleach or what gets dumped into a pool?" The short answer is no. (If you want the long answer, check out this article: the differences between chlorine and chlorine dioxide).
While both chlorine and chlorine dioxide are oxidizing agents (an agent that "accepts" or "removes" electrons from other agents), their chemical structures and behaviors are different.
Unlike chlorine, which is highly reactive and corrosive, chlorine dioxide is a safe, environmentally friendly disinfectant agent. In fact, chlorine dioxide is used in many public drinking water systems to purify the water of fungi, viruses and nasty bacteria while deodorizing it. (No one wants to drink stinky water!) And the term "stabilized" simply describes how a formula is prepared, giving it the same properties as its active form.
How does stabilized chlorine dioxide work in mouthwash?
In mouthwash, stabilized chlorine dioxide works in the same purifying way as it does in water systems. Via the gentle process of oxidation, it neutralizes Volatile Sulfur Compound (VSC)- producing bacteria. This is noteworthy because VSCs are the primary cause of bad breath.
Chlorine dioxide is also renowned for its ability to easily penetrate, remove and prevent biofilm (plaque). Plaque is the starting point of common dental issues like gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. With 75% of adults displaying signs of gingivitis, using a mouthwash with stabilized chlorine dioxide is a simple way to keep plaque and tartar buildup under control, so you can protect your smile – and bank account – down the road.
What happens if you swallow mouthwash with chlorine dioxide?
Um, just to be clear, we 100% don’t condone drinking mouthwash, but if you were to accidentally swallow a little bit of mouthwash with stabilized chlorine dioxide, there’s no need to worry. Remember – chlorine dioxide is safe, non-toxic and used as a purifier in many municipal water systems. (Please note, though, any mouthwash that contains fluoride can cause stomach upset if you swallow too much.)
Alcohol mouthwash, on the other hand, can be worrisome if swallowed because of the high alcohol content (around 26.9%). This is especially a concern for children, as even 1 ounce of ethanol can cause intoxication or poisoning. That’s why the ADA recommends children under six forego mouthwash altogether, and you’ll want to keep those boozy mouthwash bottles well out of kids’ reach.
What if you’re the DIY type and want to whip up a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash? You’ll need to be extremely careful. Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash side effects include vomiting, nausea and burning your digestive tract if you swallow too much. YIKES.
5 Reasons Dentists Recommend Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide Mouthwash
Wondering if chlorine dioxide mouthwash is worth the hype? Check out these key reasons dentists recommend this new-school way of swishing ...
1. Better Long-Term Breath Control
People with halitosis (chronic bad breath) have a lot to be excited about when it comes to mouthwash with stabilized chlorine dioxide.
In a randomized study on chlorine dioxide mouthwash, participants who swished two times a day with an unflavored chlorine dioxide mouthwash experienced over 196% improvement in the freshness of their breath after eight weeks, as measured by three calibrated organoleptic judges.
Participants’ breath was measured at baseline (0.224) as well as weeks six, seven and eight. From week six (0.120) to week 7 (0.004) to week 8 (0.0002), the amount of odor detected steadily declined, suggesting that long-term use of stabilized chlorine dioxide mouthwash is beneficial for overall breath management. And remember – an unflavored chlorine dioxide mouthwash was used in the study. No masking with mint!
2. It Won't Dry Out the Mouth Like Alcohol
Unbeknownst to them, people often find themselves in a vicious cycle of bad breath when they use alcohol mouthwash. That’s because alcohol is a drying agent. A dry mouth encourages the rapid growth of Volatile Sulfur Compounds. While there’s an initial (yet burning) blast of freshness, once the dryness kicks in, VSCs will start to form, ironically making the breath bad again. Fortunately, chlorine dioxide has no drying effect ... and bonus, it doesn’t burn like alcohol either!
3. Same Purifying Power as CHX ... Minus the Side Effects
For patients with severe gum disease, chlorhexidine (CHX) mouthwashes are often prescribed following oral surgeries to control bacteria, inflammation and swelling. Because it’s a powerful antiseptic, CHX is also commonly used as a pre-procedural rinse.
The problem with CHX mouthwash is it’s not intended for long-term use because it causes teeth staining and tartar buildup. And because it tastes terrible (often described as a "metallic taste" that lasts for hours), many patients don’t follow through on their post-op care.
That’s why many dentists have made the switch to chlorine dioxide mouthwash. Chlorine dioxide is tasteless and odorless, can be used long term, CONTROLS tartar, and has the same purifying power as CHX, without the unpleasant side effects. And in a four-month aerosol study, mouthwash with chlorine dioxide (Oxyfresh Fresh Breath Lemon Mint) was proven just as effective as CHX as a pre-procedural rinse to reduce bacterial count.
4. Freshens Breath, Fast
When chlorine dioxide encounters Volatile Sulfur Compounds, the molecules that cause stinky breath, it works on contact to render them inactive. Unlike mouthwashes that try to cover up bad breath with strong menthol flavors and masking agents, chlorine dioxide takes on the problem right at the source. Just 60 seconds of swishing will send those VSCs packing, instantly improving your breath.
5. Amazing Plaque Fighter
Plaque is that sticky stuff that forms on the teeth after you eat. Plaque that isn’t removed through good oral health habits will harden into tartar and cause problems with the gums and encourage decay. Chlorine dioxide is highly regarded for its ability to cut through plaque and tartar, providing a better level of clean versus mouthwashes without this star ingredient.
What's the Best Brand of Chlorine Dioxide Mouthwash?
Oxyfresh is the most trusted brand in chlorine dioxide mouthwash. No bandwagon jumping here! We pioneered the alcohol-free mouthwash movement in 1984 and quickly became a dentist favorite.
Today you can choose from five Oxyfresh mouthwash formulas, all featuring Oxygene®, our proprietary blend of stabilized chlorine dioxide that’s guaranteed for 24/7 fresh breath. No burning alcohol, just the perfect refreshing swish, every time.
Plus, you’ll never find flashy, bright-colored dyes in ANY of our mouthwash formulas. (Hello, dyes can stain teeth!) Dyes are added to products to make them look pretty, but we’re not superficial ... we’re results driven.
In fact, in a clinical, double-blind study (NOT sponsored by Oxyfresh), Oxyfresh Fresh Breath Lemon Mint Mouthwash & Toothpaste went up against a leading store brand toothpaste and mouthwash with alcohol.
In the study, 50 patients with periodontal disease were given a deep clean and then split into two groups. One group used Oxyfresh’s Lemon Mint chlorine dioxide duo for 12 months, and the other group used the store brand products.
Results after 12 months
Oxyfresh Lemon Mint Mouthwash & Toothpaste
- 76% improvement Gingival Index (measures gum health)
- 79% plaque reduction
- 44% reduction bad-breath bacteria
Store Brand Alcohol Mouthwash & Toothpaste
- 70% improvement Gingival Index (measures gum health)
- 71% plaque reduction
- 34% reduction bad-breath bacteria
As you can see, Oxyfresh's chlorine dioxide mouthwash and toothpaste had better marks in every single category!
Oh, and did we mention the taste?
With Oxyfresh, you won’t find harsh menthol or artificial flavors. Instead, we use natural essential oils for a light refreshing swish. And for those who are allergic to or don’t like flavorings, no worries! We offer a completely unflavored mouthwash too.
Which Oxyfresh Chlorine Dioxide Mouthwash Will Be Your New Favorite?
Fluoride, fluoride free, mint, no mint ... hey, we’re all different, and Oxyfresh has a mouthwash for every type! No matter which formula you choose, you’ll love the results of fresher breath and a healthier smile.
Fresh Breath Lemon Mint Mouthwash (Fluoride Free)
This is our most popular mouthwash of all time. And no wonder! People love the refreshing, hydrating taste of aloe vera plus lemon, orange, grapefruit, bergamot, lime and spearmint essential oils. With its patented, max-strength blend of double the Oxygene® and zinc, Fresh Breath Lemon Mint is the perfect mouthwash if you have halitosis, dry mouth or periodontal disease.
Pro Formula Mouthwash (Fluoride Free)
If you’ve invested in your smile with teeth whitening or veneers, don’t let a harsh mouthwash dull your results. Pro Formula Mouthwash is formulated especially for delicate cosmetic work, and like all Oxyfresh mouthwashes, it’s 100% dye free. With zinc, Oxygene® and a just-right amount of natural mint, your breath will stay fresh and your taste buds happy!
Cavity Protection Mouthwash (With Fluoride)
If you need extra cavity protection, whiten your teeth, or have sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks, Oxyfresh Cavity Protection Mouthwash is the mouthwash for you. It’s formulated with what the dental pros use: non-staining neutral sodium fluoride. This tried-and-true active ingredient is proven to strengthen enamel for a cavity-free smile and help for tooth sensitivity.
Fresh Breath Fresh Mint Mouthwash (Fluoride Free)
Fresh with just a hint of mint, this light and airy Fresh Breath Mouthwash is the perfect solution for anyone needing a quick pick-me-up in the breath department. You won't get the "explosion feeling" from this mouthwash; just a tiny amount of natural farm-grown mint. Because it’s so mild, it’s a favorite of families.
Gentle Formula Unflavored Mouthwash (Fluoride Free, Flavor Free)
If you don’t like the taste of mint or you’re allergic to it, you can get exceptional breath control without all the drama using Oxyfresh Gentle Formula Mouthwash. It’s 100% free of flavors and sweeteners and a must for those undergoing chemo or radiation treatments, as it helps to soothe and hydrate without causing oral irritation.