In his series The Art Of Love, which was written in 2 C.E., the ancient Roman poet Ovid offered tips for lustful women. To attract a partner, he wrote that a woman must learn many things — including how to avoid showing "a black tooth" — but most important was this: She must never smell. “She whose breath is tainted should never speak before eating and she should always stand at a distance from her lover's face," he wrote.
It's no exaggeration to say that people have been obsessed with bad breath — and transfixed with how to get rid of it — for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians appear to have invented a breath mint of their own 3,000 years ago, using herbs and spices mixed with honey. Two thousands years before that, ancient Babylonians tried brushing away stale breath with twigs.
It's a problem that has become infinitely easier to manage thanks to modern dentistry, electric toothbrushes, Waterpiks, gum, Listerine Strips, and just about every other product in Target's bursting oral health section. But often overlooked in the quest to have breath as clean and sparkly as we imagine Noah Centineo's to smell like is mouthwash.
Used routinely — alongside a full oral care routine, of course — mouthwash could forever eliminate your anxiety before leaning in for a kiss or scooting close to talk shit with your friend at a packed bar. While plenty focus on whitening and preventing cavities, others get more specific about destroying the mouth bacteria that's causing bad breath in the first place.
Ahead, we break down the best out there that don't taste like poison — and may actually kill the hesitation you feel before digging into a basket of garlic bread.
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