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As far as I can tell, mouthwashes contain antiseptics (such as hypochlorites and alcohol - so beware if you get breathalised afterwards).
The most common reason people give for using mouthwash is to freshen breath. Adverts on the bottle claim to kill bugs in the mouth. But most of these mouthwashes are based on alcohol formulations and whilst they will kill some bugs they also have a temporary drying effect on the mouth, which can make halitosis worse because the causative bacteria can rebound in number very rapidly.Chris