Mouthwash has been recommended by dental professionals for many years. The touted benefits of an oral rinse include ingredients that wash away leftover food particles between the teeth, cut down on plaque buildup, prevent gum disease, and freshen breath. Some patients ask our friendly dentist at McleanSmiles about one of the inactive ingredients in mouthwash — alcohol, which is used as a preservative — and ask whether they might be better off considering a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol.
Here’s some of what we tell our patients about whether they can or should avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol. Although mouthwashes have been found to help alleviate dry mouth, the alcohol contained in many of the most popular brands may actually worsen the symptoms of this condition. That tingling sensation that users feel when they rinse with a mouthwash is triggered by alcohol, and while for some people that experience is refreshing, for others may find it uncomfortable or even burning. Some brands contain as much as 25 percent alcohol in their mouthwashes, further heightening this effect.
For patients who decide to choose an alcohol-free variety, be aware that some of the most popular brands make alcohol-free versions of their products. When choosing a “natural” brand of mouthwash, it is advisable to select one with fluoride as an ingredient. Fluoride is an important part of keeping your teeth strong and preventing tooth decay. Whichever type of mouth rinse you select, be aware of the dyes contained in the ingredients that may cause staining of the teeth.
At the dental office of McleanSmiles, we do more than examine and clean your teeth and gums, and perform an oral health screening. We also want our patients to be informed and active partners in protecting those precious pearly whites for years to come. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office today for an appointment!