Is Listerine Good for Tooth Infection?

Is Listerine good for tooth infection?

When it comes to dental care, maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial to prevent a multitude of issues, including tooth infections. An essential part of our daily oral health routine involves the use of mouthwash. Among the various brands on the market, Listerine is one of the most popular. But how effective is Listerine in dealing with tooth infections? Here at Pristine Pediatric Dentist, we are often asked by concerned parents about the efficacy of Listerine for their children’s oral health, especially when it comes to infections. In this blog post, we’ll explore the role of Listerine in managing and preventing tooth infections.

Understanding Tooth Infections

Tooth infections occur when bacteria get into the tooth or gum areas. This can lead to pain, swelling, and if untreated, more severe health issues. Common signs of a tooth infection include:

  • Throbbing tooth pain
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Swelling in the cheek
  • Bad breath
  • Fever

Preventing these infections involves good oral hygiene practices including brushing, flossing, and yes, using mouthwash.

What Is Listerine?

Listerine is an antiseptic mouthwash product that’s been around since the late 19th century. It contains various essential oils such as menthol, thymol, eucalyptol, and methyl salicylate, which are known for their antimicrobial properties. These ingredients help in killing bacteria, reducing plaque, and freshening breath.

The Role of Listerine in Treating Tooth Infections

While Listerine is effective in killing bacteria that can cause bad breath and plaque buildup, it’s important to understand its limitations in treating an existing tooth infection. Listerine can help in reducing the overall bacterial load in the mouth, which may indirectly support the healing process of mild gum irritations or superficial infections. However, it is not capable of curing deep tooth infections or abscesses. These types of infections often require professional dental treatment, such as antibiotics or surgical interventions.

Benefits of Using Listerine

  • Antibacterial Action: The essential oils in Listerine have antibacterial properties that help reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
  • Plaque Reduction: Regular use of Listerine can help in preventing the buildup of plaque, which is a contributing factor to tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Breath Freshening: Listerine is effective in combating halitosis (bad breath), providing a fresh, clean feeling.

Limitations of Listerine

While Listerine offers several benefits, it should not be considered a standalone treatment for tooth infections. Its alcohol content can cause irritation in some people, especially in young children or those with sensitive mouths. Moreover, it does not replace the need for mechanical cleaning methods like brushing and flossing.

Recommendations from Pristine Pediatric Dentist

At Pristine Pediatric Dentist, we recommend the following steps for parents concerned about oral infections in their children:

  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Ensure your child visits the dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups.
  • Proper Oral Hygiene: Teach your child the importance of brushing twice a day and flossing daily.
  • Use of Mouthwash: Integrate mouthwash into your child’s oral hygiene routine, but choose alcohol-free versions for children to avoid irritation.


Listerine is a beneficial addition to daily oral hygiene routines, helping to reduce bacterial load and prevent plaque. However, it is not a cure for deep-rooted tooth infections. At Pristine Pediatric Dentist, we stress the importance of comprehensive dental care, which combines proper brushing, flossing, regular dental visits, and the judicious use of mouthwashes like Listerine. If you suspect your child has a tooth infection, it is crucial to consult with a dental professional who can provide the appropriate care and treatment. Remember, the key to a healthy smile is a combination of prevention, early detection, and timely intervention.