Cheapism: Best budget mouthwash for New Year’s Eve

Get ready to pucker up on New Year's Eve. Listerine Original Antiseptic Mouthwash is one of three budget mouthwashes picked by

The turn of 2014 guarantees a ball drop, overcrowding in Times Square, and awkward moments between Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. Less certain are celebratory kisses at midnight. To increase your odds of success, be sure to freshen your breath before the countdown hits “one.”

Here are three inexpensive mouthwashes recommended by

Listerine Original Antiseptic Mouthwash (starting at 13 cents per ounce) is the reigning champ in the fight against bad breath. This is the classic formula whose abrasive flavor has been scrunching up faces since the 1800s. Still, reviewers swear by this mouthwash for staving off not just halitosis but also more harmful afflictions such as gum disease. It has earned the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance for effectively reducing gingivitis and plaque. If the original is too much for your taste buds, many consumers find the mint varieties more palatable. (Where to buy

Act Total Care Anti-Cavity Fluoride Mouthwash (starting at 18 cents per ounce) is milder and contains no alcohol, whereas Listerine registers roughly 27 percent (about twice as much as Champagne). Users appreciate the pleasant taste of Act Total Care mouthwash. In online reviews, many mention that a dentist recommended it to help prevent tooth decay. This formula contains the greatest concentration of fluoride permitted without a prescription. (Where to buy

Scope Original Mint Mouthwash (starting at 10 cents per ounce) does one thing — freshen bad breath — and does it well, reviewers say. This rinse is formulated to kill the germs responsible for a less-than-minty mouth. It contains 15 percent alcohol but has a smooth, crowd-pleasing flavor. Be aware that its effects don’t seem to last as long as some of the more powerful mouthwashes. (Where to buy

A mouthwash like Scope is classified as a cosmetic mouthrinse. Its mandate is to temporarily mask odor and make your mouth taste clean. A therapeutic mouthrinse goes beyond that to curtail tartar, gingivitis and/or cavities. (Some require a prescription.) An alternative for someone skeptical of commercial-brand mouthwashes is a homemade concoction. If you have some time off around the holiday and want to give this a try, search online for a recipe with ingredients such as baking soda and peppermint oil.

Keep in mind that none of these mouthwashes is a substitute for brushing. According to the ADA, brushing your tongue alone is enough to reduce bad breath by 70 percent. On New Year’s Eve, though, it’s probably easier to slip into the restroom with a vial of mouthwash than with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Any of the three options above should help set you up for a When Harry Met Sally-style smooch.

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