5 Best Mouthwash for Smokers 2023 (Dentist Recommended)

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Dr. Matthew Hannan | My Dental Advocate
Matt Hannan, DDS
Updated: October 7, 2023
5 Best Mouthwash for Smokers | My Dental Advocate

For smokers, regular oral care isn’t just about freshening breath; it’s about maintaining oral health. Combating the specific challenges tobacco poses, such as staining and bacteria buildup, requires a specialized regimen.

The right mouthwash can play a pivotal role. Dive into our guide on the best mouthwash for smokers to elevate your oral care routine.

As an experienced dentist with years of experience, I’ve tested and evaluated 200+ dental products. I strive to find the best products for achieving excellent oral hygiene, so let’s take a closer look at the 5 Best Mouthwash for Smokers from a dentist’s perspective.

Buying Guide

  1. Best Overall: Therabreath Plus Mouthwash
  2. Best All-Natural: Hello Activated Charcoal Mouthwash
  3. Best Value: Listerine Total Mouthwash
  4. Best Whitening: Crest Advanced Whitening Mouthwash
  5. Best Pain Relief: Colgate Peroxyl Mouthwash

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Impact of Smoking on Oral Health

Smoking, whether cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, is a well-documented risk factor for many health issues. Yet, beyond the often-discussed lung and heart problems, it poses significant threats to oral health. To truly comprehend the urgency for specialized oral care products for smokers, it’s crucial to grasp the extent of these threats.

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  • Tooth Discoloration: One of the most immediate and visible effects of smoking is teeth staining. The nicotine and tar in tobacco can turn teeth into shades of yellow or brown over time.
  • Gum Disease: Smoking reduces blood flow to the gums, depriving them of vital nutrients and making them more prone to infections. This can lead to gum recession, increased sensitivity, and even tooth loss.
  • Bad Breath: Tobacco products leave a residue in the mouth that’s hard to eliminate, causing what’s popularly known as “smoker’s breath.” This persistent odor is more than just a temporary inconvenience; it indicates the presence of harmful bacteria.
  • Oral Cancer: According to numerous studies, smokers are at a significantly higher risk of developing oral cancer. The carcinogens in tobacco products can mutate cells in the mouth, leading to this life-threatening condition.
  • Decreased Sense of Taste and Smell: Many smokers report a dulled sense of taste and smell. This reduces the enjoyment of food and can lead to poor dietary choices as one might crave saltier or spicier foods.
  • Dry Mouth: Smoking affects saliva production, leading to a dry mouth. A lack of saliva feels uncomfortable and can accelerate tooth decay, as saliva plays a vital role in neutralizing acids and cleaning the mouth.

Armed with this knowledge, one can better appreciate the importance of maintaining a rigorous oral care routine, especially when it involves products designed specifically for the unique challenges faced by smokers.

Mouthwash for Smoker’s Oral Care Regimen

While brushing and flossing are foundational steps in any oral care routine, incorporating a suitable mouthwash becomes even more pivotal for smokers. Mouthwash serves as an added layer of defense against the ravages of smoking, and here’s why it’s indispensable:

  • Neutralizing Harmful Chemicals: Tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemicals, many of which linger in the mouth after smoking. Mouthwash helps neutralize and wash away these residues, reducing their harmful effects on teeth and gums.
  • Combatting Plaque Build-Up: Smokers often have more plaque and tartar than non-smokers. A therapeutic mouthwash can help inhibit the growth of these deposits, ensuring that they’re less likely to harden into tartar, which requires professional cleaning to remove.
  • Freshening Breath: As mentioned earlier, “smoker’s breath” is persistent. Mouthwash can offer immediate relief, neutralizing odors and giving a fresh, clean feeling that can boost one’s confidence throughout the day.
  • Strengthening Tooth Enamel: Certain mouthwashes are formulated with fluoride, which strengthens tooth enamel and combats decay. A fluoride-rich mouthwash can be beneficial since smokers are more prone to cavities due to dry mouth and increased plaque.
  • Rejuvenating Gums: With reduced blood flow and increased susceptibility to infections, smokers’ gums need extra care. Antiseptic mouthwashes kill harmful bacteria, reduce inflammation, and promote the healing of the gum tissues.

Considering the multifaceted challenges that smoking introduces to oral health, mouthwash emerges not just as a supplementary step, but as a crucial component. The right mouthwash can bridge the gap, ensuring that smokers have a fighting chance against the deteriorating effects of tobacco on their oral well-being.

Mouthwash Key Ingredients

When shopping for the ideal mouthwash, it’s not just about grabbing any off the shelf. For smokers, some ingredients are more effective in addressing their unique oral challenges. Let’s explore some of these crucial components:

  • Activated Charcoal: Highly renowned for its detoxifying properties, activated charcoal can effectively bind to and remove tobacco stains, helping restore a brighter smile.
  • Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC): This antiseptic agent battles against the bacteria responsible for bad breath. In mouthwashes, CPC can help reduce and prevent the formation of dental plaque and gingivitis.
  • Fluoride: As mentioned earlier, fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, making it more decay-resistant. A fluoride-enriched mouthwash provides an extra defense against cavities, which is especially beneficial for smokers with a higher risk.
  • Aloe Vera and Chamomile: These natural ingredients are known for their soothing properties. They can help alleviate gum inflammation, which is particularly helpful for smokers who are prone to gum issues.
  • Zinc Compounds: Zinc effectively neutralizes the sulfur compounds contributing to bad breath. Mouthwashes containing zinc can offer longer-lasting freshness, countering the persistent smoker’s breath.
  • Xylitol: Not only does xylitol fight cavity-causing bacteria, but it also promotes saliva production. Since smokers often suffer from dry mouth, a mouthwash with xylitol can help maintain moisture balance.

Equipped with this knowledge of key ingredients, smokers can make an informed choice, ensuring that their chosen mouthwash meets their specific needs. It’s not merely about freshening the breath but optimizing the entire oral environment to counteract the effects of tobacco.

In 2021, nearly 12 out of every 100 adults in the United States aged 18 years or older (11.5%) currently smoked cigarettes, which means an estimated 28.3 million people.

Top 5 Best Mouthwash for Smokers

Navigating the plethora of mouthwashes on the market can be daunting, especially when searching for a product that targets the challenges posed by smoking. But worry not!

After meticulous research and analysis, we’ve curated a list of the top 5 mouthwashes designed specifically for smokers. These selections not only combat bad breath and staining but also offer comprehensive oral care benefits.

1. Therabreath Plus Mouthwash (Best Overall)

TheraBreath Fresh Breath Plus Mouthwash stands out as a top pick for smokers. Expertly crafted to combat the persistent “smoker’s breath”, its formula contains oxygenating agents that neutralize odor-causing compounds. Being alcohol-free, it offers a gentle cleanse, especially beneficial for smokers with sensitive mouths.

Designed for daily use, it doesn’t exacerbate dryness—a common concern for smokers. The peppermint flavor ensures lasting freshness, and its clinically-backed, dentist-formulated composition assures users of its efficacy. In essence, TheraBreath offers a comprehensive and reliable oral care solution tailored for smokers.

Best Flavor
TheraBreath Plus Dentist Formulated Maximum Strength Oral Rinse
$43.85 ($1.37 / Fl Oz)

TheraBreath PLUS is an advanced formula that seeks to help people suffering from the most severe cases of halitosis.

Their original formula is fortified with soothing aloe vera and naturally antibacterial green tea, zinc gluconate, and tea tree oil. This is TheraBreath’s most robust bad breath-fighting oral rinse and is also helpful after eating odor-rich foods.

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11/29/2023 05:30 pm GMT

2. Hello Activated Charcoal Mouthwash (Best All-Natural)

Hello Activated Charcoal Mouthwash is an ideal choice for those seeking a natural solution to their oral care needs, especially smokers. At its core, the mouthwash boasts activated charcoal, a potent natural ingredient known for its detoxifying properties and ability to effectively bind and remove stains from teeth, a common concern for smokers.

Its formula is free from alcohol, synthetic dyes, and artificial sweeteners, ensuring a pure and gentle cleanse that doesn’t compromise on efficacy. Infused with a refreshing blend of natural mint, coconut oil, and xylitol, it not only tackles bad breath but also promotes a healthier oral environment.

The absence of harsh chemicals and the inclusion of natural ingredients give users the peace of mind that they’re choosing a product that’s both safe and effective. Hello Oral Care’s commitment to delivering high-quality, naturally-derived oral care solutions makes this mouthwash a top all-natural pick for smokers.

Natural Whitening
Hello Activated Charcoal Extra Freshening Mouthwash
$20.97 $17.88 ($0.37 / Fl Oz)

Say hello to naturally friendly activated charcoal extra freshening mouthwash.

Thoughtfully formulated with activated charcoal (made from sustainable bamboo), coconut oil to moisturize, tea tree oil to cleanse, fresh mint to freshen breath, and xylitol because it rocks.

But buckle-up, there's more goodness: hello contains no alcohol, no artificial sweeteners, no artificial flavors, no dyes and no SLS sulfates. As if that weren't enough magic for one bottle, hello is also vegan and never tested on animals.

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11/29/2023 01:35 pm GMT

3. Listerine Total Mouthwash (Best Value)

Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash offers smokers an optimal blend of quality and affordability, making it our top pick for best value. A recognized name in the realm of oral care, Listerine’s Total Care variant delivers an array of benefits suited for the smoker’s unique oral needs.

It provides comprehensive coverage against cavities, reinforces enamel, and combats gingivitis – all crucial for someone exposed to the adverse effects of tobacco. Additionally, its six-in-one formula ensures that users get multiple benefits ranging from killing bad breath germs to aiding in the prevention of cavities, making the product a holistic oral care solution.

The sizable volume offered at a competitive price point translates to long-lasting usage without frequent repurchases, affirming its position as a cost-effective choice. For smokers looking for a tried-and-true product that won’t break the bank but still delivers on quality, Listerine Total Care stands out as a commendable option.

Best Anticavity
Listerine Total Care Anticavity Fluoride Mouthwash
$11.86 $8.48 ($0.25 / Fl Oz)

Give your mouth complete care with ADA-accepted Listerine Total Care Fluoride Anticavity Mouthwash.

This Fresh Mint-flavored mouthwash for bad breath provides six dental hygiene benefits in one powerful oral rinse & up to four times the fluoride uptake versus Act,* & provides 50% greater strengthening of weakened enamel vs. brushing alone in lab studies.

The fluoride-rich oral rinse formula helps prevent cavities, restores enamel, & strengthens your teeth to improve oral health.

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11/29/2023 06:20 pm GMT

4. Crest Advanced Whitening Mouthwash (Best Whitening)

For smokers concerned about the staining effects of tobacco on their teeth, Crest Pro-Health Advanced Whitening Mouthwash emerges as the leading choice. Specifically tailored to address discoloration, this mouthwash combines the trusted oral care expertise of Crest with effective whitening agents.

Its advanced formula not only ensures the removal of surface stains but also prevents the formation of new ones, allowing users to maintain a brighter smile with consistent use. Beyond whitening, it offers the protective benefits of strengthening enamel and safeguarding against cavities.

The Energizing Mint flavor enhances the overall experience, leaving the mouth feeling invigorated and refreshingly clean. Considering its dual functionality of promoting oral health while actively combating tobacco stains, Crest Pro-Health Advanced with Whitening stands out as the best whitening mouthwash option for smokers.

Extra Whitening
Crest ProHealth Advanced Whitening Mouthwash
$27.96 $15.94

Crest Pro-Health Advanced Extra Whitening mouthwash with Fluoride helps you have stronger teeth.

For a healthier mouth, it provides the extra benefit of enamel-safe whitening.

When added to a good oral care routine by strengthening enamel with brushing and removing surface stains.

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11/29/2023 06:05 pm GMT

5. Colgate Peroxyl Mouthwash (Best Pain Relief)

Smokers often grapple with mouth sores and irritations as a result of consistent exposure to tobacco. For those seeking solace from such discomforts, Colgate Peroxyl Mouth Sore Rinse emerges as the premier choice. Specifically formulated to address oral pain, this mouthwash uses the cleansing power of hydrogen peroxide to help promote the healing of minor oral wounds, irritations, and mouth burns.

The effervescence of the peroxide formulation assists in flushing out debris from hard-to-reach areas, alleviating discomfort and aiding in the natural healing process. In addition to its therapeutic properties, it offers a mild, pleasant flavor, ensuring that the relief process is as comfortable as it is effective.

For smokers in search of a trusted solution to counter the painful aftermath of tobacco use, Colgate Peroxyl stands head and shoulders above the rest as the best pain relief mouthwash.

Best Overall
Colgate Peroxyl Antiseptic Mouthwash
$10.96 ($0.65 / Fl Oz)

Colgate seeks to develop products that promote healthy smiles.

They’ve been in the oral health care industry for over 145 years and offer various oral care products. Sustainability is also important to them as they recently created a first-of-its-kind recyclable toothpaste tube.

In addition, they strive to be an accessible company that offers many educational resources to the public and dental professionals. Peroxyl Mouth Sore Rinse is formulated with 1.5% hydrogen peroxide to cleanse and promote the healing of minor oral wounds.

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11/29/2023 02:20 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Whitening mouthwashes contain ingredients designed to lift and prevent surface stains on teeth. While they can be effective in reducing tobacco-related discoloration, for best results, they should be used as part of a comprehensive oral care routine that includes regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

Yes, some mouthwashes are formulated with therapeutic agents that promote the healing of minor oral wounds and provide relief from mouth sores and irritations. These rinses cleanse the affected area and aid in the natural healing process.

It's generally recommended to use mouthwash twice daily – morning and night – as part of a regular oral care routine. However, depending on the specific needs and the mouthwash's formulation, it might be advisable to follow the product's directions or consult with a dental professional for personalized guidance.

My Experience & Expertise

Oral care is of paramount importance, especially for smokers who face unique challenges due to their habit. With a myriad of mouthwash options available, it’s essential to identify one that aligns with individual needs, whether it’s combating bad breath, whitening teeth, or alleviating pain.

When selecting a mouthwash, it’s crucial to consider its ingredients, benefits, and overall value. A well-chosen mouthwash can go a long way in ensuring oral health, confidence, and comfort. As always, for persistent or severe oral concerns, consulting with a dental professional is advisable. Remember, the right oral care routine can help mitigate the effects of smoking and pave the way for a healthier, brighter smile.

Knowledge is power when cultivating healthy dental habits. The more informed you are, the better positioned you’ll be to prevent avoidable and potentially costly dental procedures for you and your family. Watch for future blog posts, where we’ll continue sharing important information, product reviews and practical advice!