TheraBreath vs. Listerine: Which Mouthwash is Better?

As someone who has struggled with bad breath for years, I’ve always been on the lookout for the perfect mouthwash to help me feel more confident in social situations. There’s nothing worse than worrying about your breath while trying to engage in conversation.

With countless types of mouthwash claiming to banish bad breath, it can be tough to separate fact from fiction. In this blog post, we’ll put TheraBreath and Listerine to the test, comparing their ingredients, taste, effectiveness, and overall user experience.

therabreath and listerine

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what makes TheraBreath and Listerine different from one another—and hopefully, be closer to finding a mouthwash that’s perfect for your own personal oral hygiene routine.


TheraBreath, founded by Dr. Harold Katz, a dentist, and bacteriologist, prides itself on its ability to neutralize sulfur-producing bacteria that cause bad breath. This mouthwash uses a patented oxygenating formula with OXYD-8, a stabilized chlorine dioxide compound, to effectively combat bad breath without the harsh side effects of alcohol-based mouthwashes. TheraBreath claims to provide 24-hour fresh breath protection, which is an attractive proposition for anyone dealing with halitosis.

Therabreath is made up of a blend of ingredients, including Sodium Chlorite, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Peppermint Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, and Water. It’s also alcohol-free.

On the other hand, Listerine, a well-established brand with over a century of history, is a household name in the world of oral care. Its distinctive, powerful formula contains a combination of essential oils and alcohol, which work together to kill germs and provide a deep clean feeling. Listerine not only targets bad breath but also promotes overall oral health by fighting plaque and gingivitis. With its strong reputation and many varieties, Listerine has become a staple in many people’s oral care routines.

listerine mouthwash flavors

In this comparison, I’ll concentrate primarily on the Freshburst (Green) and Cool Mint (Blue) variants of Listerine, as I believe these are specifically formulated to combat bad breath. Both of these versions share the same ingredients, with the only difference being their alcohol content. The Freshburst (Green) mouthwash has an alcohol concentration of 26.9% v/v, while the Cool Mint (Blue) version contains 21.6% v/v alcohol.

The active ingredients in Listerine include Eucalyptol, Menthol, Methyl salicylate (commonly known as Wintergreen oil), and Thymol (found in Thyme oil). All of these ingredients are derived from plants, which is a big plus in my book.

Listerine also contains several inactive ingredients such as water, alcohol, sorbitol, benzoic acid, poloxamer 407, sodium benzoate, sodium saccharin, Green 3, Yellow 10, and flavors. It’s important to note that the Freshburst and Cool Mint versions do not contain fluoride, but Listerine’s Total Care variant does. They also offer alcohol-free mouthwashes for those who prefer a gentler formula.

Taste, Flavors, and Mouthfeel

TheraBreath offers a wide variety of flavors, including Icy Mint, Sparkle Mint, Rainforest Mint, Tingling Mint, Peppermint, Mild Mint, and Clean Mint. My personal favorites are Icy Mint, Sparkle Mint, and Mild Mint. Each flavor provides a pleasant taste that leaves your mouth feeling refreshed without causing dryness, and there’s no alcohol taste.

best therabreath flavor

One of the best features of TheraBreath is that it doesn’t cause any burning sensation when swishing it around in your mouth, thanks to its alcohol-free formula. After using TheraBreath, you can expect a cooling sensation in the back of your throat. It is evident that the company put a lot of thought into making this product as effective as possible while still being gentle on your teeth and gums.

orginal listerine flavor

Listerine, on the other hand, has a range of flavors as well. The Original Listerine has a strong, unique taste that some people might find unappealing. However, other flavors like Cool Mint and Freshburst are more enjoyable to use, with a hint of sweetness from the Sorbitol ingredient. The Original Listerine doesn’t have any sweetness, making it stand out from the rest.

Listerine mouthwashes are known for their tingling sensation due to the alcohol content. Although the Original Listerine may feel painful for some users, the Cool Mint and Freshburst flavors are less intense. Freshburst, despite having a slightly higher alcohol concentration, feels milder than the Original. However, a mild burning sensation may still be present.

cool mint listerine flavor

The Cool Mint flavor of Listerine has a clean, antiseptic taste. It is not overly thick and some users might feel it’s slightly watered down. It is flavored with menthol, but it does not have the strong taste of Vicks Lozenges. If you have a sensitive mouth or dislike a burning sensation, then Listerine may not be right for you.

Effectiveness for Bad Breath

Oral hygiene and fresh breath are highly dependent on the pH levels in your mouth. An ideal saliva pH ranges from 6.2 to 7.6, which is crucial for protecting your teeth and preventing bad breath. As many foods and drinks we consume can increase the acidity in our mouth, it’s essential to restore a neutral pH as quickly as possible after eating or drinking.

Studies show that up to 85% of halitosis cases can be traced back to the oral cavity. Consuming acidic beverages, such as fruit juices and soft drinks, can lower the pH level in your mouth, leading to tooth enamel breakdown, cavity formation, and an increased susceptibility to bad breath.

Listerine is acidic, with a pH ranging from 3.0 to 4.2. This acidity can soften tooth enamel, making it more susceptible to wear and tear when brushing your teeth. As a result, it’s not recommended to use Listerine before brushing, as doing so could cause more harm than good.

TheraBreath, on the other hand, is an alkaline mouthwash with a pH of 9.82. This means that it effectively neutralizes the acids in your mouth and helps maintain a healthy pH balance for extended periods. TheraBreath may be a better choice for those looking to maintain overall oral health for the long term, while Listerine is suitable for short-term benefits.

Both TheraBreath and Listerine are ADA-accepted and have been effective in combating bad breath in my personal experience.


  • Provides quick improvement in just 30 seconds
  • Offers freshness for up to 12 hours (despite the company’s claim of 24-hour protection)
  • No alcohol means less irritation


  • Enjoyable to swish and gargle
  • Doesn’t stain the tongue even with frequent use
  • Strong flavor that lasts for hours, providing confidence in breath freshness

Some users suggest diluting Listerine with water or mixing it with hydrogen peroxide to make it milder and more cost-effective. Using an electric toothbrush and a water jet while brushing can further enhance its effectiveness, targeting germs in gum lines and between teeth.

Packaging and Ease of Use

When it comes to packaging, TheraBreath mouthwash comes in a 16-ounce plastic bottle, which is a decent size for regular use. The bottle also includes a small dispenser cup, making it convenient to use. I noticed that TheraBreath offers additional options like a spray and a 3-ounce travel-size version, which is great for those who want to try the product before committing to the full-size bottle. I also gave their lozenges a try, and they’re essentially small breath mints that are perfect for carrying around in your pocket when you’re on the go.

On the other hand, Listerine offers a variety of sizes, ranging from 250 ml to 1.5 liters. I found the larger bottles to be more cost-effective, especially for bigger families. The 250 ml and 500 ml bottles are travel-friendly and don’t take up much space on my sink or shelf. Each Listerine bottle comes with a safety plastic seal, ensuring that it has not been opened or tampered with before you receive it. However, I noticed that it’s essential to pay close attention to the size when purchasing online, as the small bottles can sometimes look like the larger ones. Listerine’s classic design makes it easy to find at grocery stores, and I sometimes dilute the mouthwash and use it as an antiseptic foot wash when hiking.

In terms of ease of use, both TheraBreath and Listerine are quite simple to use. I appreciate the dispenser cup that comes with TheraBreath, while Listerine’s various sizes make it easy to find the perfect fit for my needs.

Prices and Affordability

In my opinion, the price of TheraBreath and Listerine mouthwashes can vary depending on where you purchase them. For TheraBreath, I typically buy a 16oz bottle for $9.95 from their website, but I’ve discovered that I can save some money by getting it for around $7.50 from different online retailers. Additionally, I’ve noticed that buying TheraBreath in bundles, like packs of 4 or 12, can save me even more money, and the discounts tend to improve with bulk orders. Their website also occasionally has coupons, discounts, and promotional deals, which is a nice bonus.

As for Listerine, I’ve found that I can get a 1-liter bottle for around $6.49 online—much cheaper than at stores, where one bottle usually costs nearly nine dollars. Furthermore, they offer a 2-pack option, and I think this is a terrific value for families. Walmart often sells two large bottles of Listerine for only $12 (a substantial discount from ordering them individually).

Listerine is a great product to keep on hand and I often purchase it in bulk when the price drops. Considering the shelf life of Listerine is 24 months, it’s worth stocking up when there’s a good deal available. I sometimes carry this mouthwash in a small spray bottle for travel.

While Listerine is a more budget-friendly product, the prices of both TheraBreath and Listerine can be seen as reasonable when factoring in discounts and subscription services.

Which Formula Should You Buy?

check price

TheraBreath offers a milder experience, as it’s alcohol-free and doesn’t cause a burning sensation. Its effectiveness in combating bad breath was impressive, and I noticed a significant improvement in my breath’s freshness throughout the day. It also has a variety of flavors that I find more appealing compared to Listerine’s options. However, the price point for TheraBreath is slightly higher than Listerine, which may be a concern for some users.

Listerine, on the other hand, has a much stronger and more intense flavor. It comes in various sizes, including larger family-sized bottles. While it certainly leaves your mouth feeling clean, the burning sensation can be a bit overwhelming for some.

While both TheraBreath and Listerine effectively combat bad breath and reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth, they shouldn’t be considered a substitute for daily brushing and flossing. Keep in mind that these mouthwashes offer a short-term fix for halitosis, and maintaining proper oral care is crucial for long-term results.

In summary, TheraBreath is an excellent choice for those seeking a gentler mouthwash for long-term use, offering a variety of flavors to suit individual preferences. Its alkaline nature helps maintain a healthy pH balance in the mouth, contributing to overall oral health.

On the other hand, Listerine is a suitable choice for those who are budget-conscious and can tolerate a burning sensation in the mouth. However, it is essential to keep in mind that Listerine is acidic and may cause enamel softening if used too frequently or for extended periods.

Although mouthwashes may be effective at reducing halitosis, if your bad breath persists after using these products it’s a good idea to talk with your dentist or hygienist about possible causes.

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