Will Listerine Kill Tooth Infection?

In this brief article you will learn about whether Listerine mouthwash kills tooth infection or not.

Will Listerine Kill Tooth Infection?

No, Listerine will not kill tooth infection. Tooth infections are much advanced types of infections and they require different kinds of management with medicine and specific types of dental procedures. These dental procedures can only be performed by a qualified dentist, who will diagnose what kind of tooth infection you have.

Based upon the signs and symptoms that you tell your dentist, along with any investigational technique required, the type of tooth infection will be diagnosed and the appropropriate treatment plan will be decided by them. No single treatment plan is applicable to everyone. 

Each type of tooth infection requires different kinds of treatment. Your age and overall health will also be a major factor in finalising a suitable treatment plan along with determining the prognosis of the treatment.

What Causes Tooth Infection?

Tooth infection is one of the most common diseases seen in humans. A single specific cause for tooth infection cannot be pointed out. It is a phenomenon which happens due to multiple reasons and each and every type of tooth infection will present itself differently too. 

The bacteria which are already present in the oral cavity, start invading the inner layers of teeth and gums which then progresses to tooth infection. The most common is a cavity in the tooth. Not maintaining proper oral hygiene is the most common reason behind tooth infection. Many times even if we brush our teeth twice a day, we can get tooth infections. This is because more than often we do not follow the correct method of brushing teeth. This is an article which explains the right way to brush and floss our teeth. Eating certain kinds of foods in excess also causes tooth infection. 

To list out in brief, some of the major reasons behind tooth infections are:

  • Not cleaning all teeth surfaces properly.
  • Not brushing twice a day.
  • Not using a floss.
  • Eating foods that are sticky.
  • Eating foods full of sugar, in excess.
  • Eating junk food in excess.
  • Not getting tooth cavities treated on time.
  • Ignoring gum problems

What Are The Different Types Of Tooth Infection?

Tooth infection is an umbrella term which has multiple types of infections under it. There is not one but multiple kinds of tooth infections, which require different treatment approaches, as mentioned above. The most common type of tooth infection is cavities in the teeth. 

When we eat food and do not clean our oral cavity after eating, and the food particles remain stuck on the teeth, the bacteria in the mouth start digesting it. As they digest the food particles, they release acidic substances which start eroding the surfaces of our teeth. When this process keeps repeating itself again and again, ultimately cavities form.

Another type of tooth infection is an abscess in the roots of the teeth. This is one of the most painful tooth infections and requires immediate attention of your dentist. Your dentist will prescribe certain medicines for pain management and arresting the growth of disease-causing bacteria in the root region, after which an appropriate dental procedure will be performed.

Abscess forms when the cavity in the tooth reaches the innermost layer of teeth, which houses the nerves and blood supply of the teeth, called the pulp region. Once the cavity reaches this region, the entire tooth becomes infected and you will start experiencing pain.

The other type of tooth infection happens when the gums get involved too. Such an infection can be gingivitis or periodontitis, which is the most severe form of gingivitis. These two infections happen because of improper cleansing of the oral cavity, which leads to plaque accumulation onto the tooth surfaces, which lead to inflammation in the gums. This condition can also progress to abscess formation, if left untreated.

What Is Listerine And What Does It Do?

Listerine is mouthwash which comes in a range of different flavors, such as cool mint, original, orange etc. Dr. Joseph Lawrence, an English doctor, created Listerine, which was later launched in the markets all over the world as germ killing mouthwash, by Lawrence pharmaceuticals in 1881.

The formula, which was formed by Dr. Lawrence and pharmacist Jordan Lambert, mainly consists of four essential oils which help to fight bad breath, plaque control and keep the oral cavity clean and fresh. These four essential oils are Eucalyptol, Menthol, Thymol and Oil of Wintergreen. 

As per the Listerine team, no other brand offers a combination of these oils in their mouthwashes. Eucalyptol, which is derived from trees mainly found in Australia, acts as an antibacterial agent. Thymol too has antibacterial properties and oil of wintergreen, which if found in many chewing gums, is responsible for the freshness of breath. The last essential oil, Menthol, also is known for its freshness and anti-germ properties.

Listerine mouthwash is mainly responsible for fighting germs in the oral cavity which can cause gum diseases and tooth decay. It inhibits the formation of plaque, which harbors germs and bacteria that can cause tooth infections. Apart from fighting these germs. Listerine also fights bad breath, giving you a fresh breath after its use. 

However, if tooth decay has already happened or tooth infections such as an abscess or periodontitis have developed, Listerine will not kill or cure these infections. These conditions will only be cured by proper dental treatment by your dentist and later Listerine will be prescribed as a preventive measure.

 It is also  important to remember that the correct use of Listerine mouthwash is essential for it to work properly and deliver the results that are promised. Incorrect use of Listerine will not only waste the product, you will also not see any results in your mouth.

What Is The Correct Way to Use Listerine?

Like any other branded and approved mouthwash, Listerine will clean out any remaining food particles in the mouth. Germs and bacteria can colonise any part of your oral cavity and food particles that get stuck in hard to reach places like crevices or interdental areas, will lead to infections if they are not cleaned. The correct steps to remember when using Listerine are:

  • Take 20ml or three-fourth of capful of your Listerine mouthwash.
  • Pour it in your mouth and swish it around thoroughly.
  • Do this for 30 seconds and then spit it out.
  • Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after using Listerine mouthwash, as this can reduce its effectiveness.
  • Do not dilute the mouthwash while using it.

Listerine comes in a range of multiple variants for different problems. You can select a variant according to your problem or as prescribed by your dentist. The different types are Listerine – teeth and gum   defense, Listerine- Miswak, Listerine Total Care, Listerine Total Care Zero, Listerine Green Tea, Listerine Zero, Listerine Cool Mint, Listerine Tartar Control, Listerine Fresh Burst Mouthwash. This article will help you to understand the use of each variant, so that you can select the appropriate type for you.

How To Protect Yourself From Gum Diseases?

Gums are the tissue that hold your teeth along with the bone. Gum health is essential for an overall healthy oral cavity. Gum diseases, if ignored, can become notoriously difficult to treat and you can lose your teeth if care is not taken. Brushing your teeth twice daily is of paramount importance to maintain the health of your gums and teeth. Using a Fluoride toothpaste is important too. Flossing with a dental floss will help to remove any lodged food particles of plaque in the crevices of gums.

Using a mouthwash such as Listerine twice daily will help in controlling the growth of disease causing bacteria and germs in the mouth. Rinse your mouth after eating or drinking something. Bleeding gums are the first sign of gum disease. If you notice any bleeding from your gums while brushing or otherwise without any injury, make an appointment with your dentist and have them checked.

Do not poke your gums with a toothpick. This can injure your gums and can cause infections. Eat foods rich in vitamin c, such as oranges, lemon, tangerines etc. Visit your dentist regularly and make regular appointments for scaling every six months.

Frequently Asked Questions (Will Listerine Kill Tooth Infection)

Does Listerine Kill Toothache?

No, Listerine will not kill any toothache. As mentioned above, Listerine is an antiseptic mouthwash that helps to fight cavity-causing germs. But if decay has already happened and you are experiencing pain in your tooth, Listerine will not be effective. Pain management will only be done by your dentist along with infection control and treating the underlying cause of toothache.

Listerine does not have anti-inflammation properties and it cannot reverse any tooth infection or toothache. It will have no effect on your tooth pain or tooth infection that has already set in.

Does mouthwash help with tooth decay?

Mouthwash can help prevent tooth decay due to their anti-cavity properties. Mouthwashes that have fluoride in them are the best ones that help to fight tooth decay. However, if tooth decay has already happened, a mouthwash will not treat or reverse it. Along with proper and regular brushing, it can prevent the formation of new cavities, but will not reverse any previous tooth decay.

What are the side effects of Listerine?

There are no severe side effects of Listerine. Listerine, like many other approved mouthwashes, has alcohol in it. Listerine should not be swallowed as it can lead to drunkenness and gastric complications. Rinsing with Listerine for longer than the recommended time can cause burning and stinging sensation on the lips, tongue, gums and the inside of the cheeks. 

Alcohol is a drying agent and over use of Listerine can lead to dryness of the mouth, lips, gums and cheeks. That is why it is important to stick to the instructions of using Listerine and using it only for the recommended time period.

What can I use for tooth infection?

Tooth infection is a serious problem that needs immediate attention from your dentist. Trying any home remedies or self cure of tooth infection is definitely not recommended and should not be attempted at home. Trying any home remedy can lead to serious complications which can put you at risk of developing further complications.

Your dentist will diagnose the cause of tooth infection and will prescribe appropriate antibiotics and other medications that are needed, after which the right kind of dental procedure will be performed. Self medicating is not recommended and should be stayed away from

Can I pop my tooth abscess with a needle?

No, popping a tooth abscess with a needle or any other instruments on your own is not recommended and should not be attempted ever. Doing any such thing can lead to a drastic increase in your infection and you can develop serious complications such as sepsis.

Needles or other sharp instruments that are lying at home or any other place are unsterilized as they are kept exposed to the environment. This makes them full of germs and microorganisms that can lead to developing other infections and can also complicate the already existing infection further. Tooth abscess should be looked at by your dentist only.


Listerine is a mouthwash that helps to fight cavity and gum disease causing bacteria. It will keep your mouth clean and fresh. However, it will not cure or kill a tooth infection. Tooth infections need proper dental management which can be provided only by your dentist. It is important to use a mouthwash to keep cavity and gum disease causing germs at bay. The instructions to use Listerine should be followed and over use should be avoided.

Other FAQs about Teeth Infection that you may be interested in.

Can you catch a tooth infection from kissing?

Best Mouthwash For Tooth Infection 

Antibiotics For Tooth Infection



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