Mouthwash is typically used to kill the bacteria in your mouth and leave you with a cool and refreshing breath afterwards. Some mouthwashes only use peppermint oil to mask the smell that bacteria growth produces. Others that are labeled “antiseptic” are actually eliminating the bacteria within your mouth.
The most common effective ingredients in mouthwash are alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and sodium fluoride. Alcohol tends to dry out one’s mouth which can exacerbate bad breath. Thus, it is recommended that you use a mouthwash that has little to no alcohol in it.
Other than antiseptic mouthwash, there is also fluoride mouthwash and combination (or total) mouthwash. A fluoride mouthwash will protect your teeth and reduce tooth decay. A combination mouthwash will not only prevent tooth decay but also freshen the breath.
Keep in mind that mouthwashes should be used in addition to daily brushing and flossing, and should not be thought of as a replacement.
Below you will find some additional articles on the various types of mouthwashes and how they benefit you.