Many mouthwashes contain alcohol as its active ingredient. In fact, in some, 25% or more of the mixture is alcohol. This is more alcohol than is in most beers and wines. While you can't drink mouthwash to get drunk due to the nature of how the alcohol was processed, that doesn't mean it's completely safe. It's much better for your oral health to use mouthwash that is alcohol-free for a number of reasons.
How Alcohol in Mouthwash Damages Your Teeth
One of the biggest downsides to using mouthwash that contains alcohol is that it kills too much of the bacteria in the mouth. While it eliminates a large number of the bad bacteria that cause cavities, gum disease, and other issues, it also kills too much of the good bacteria. Without this good bacteria, your mouth is unable to protect itself. These good bacteria have been shown to actually help stop certain oral diseases and may even prevent cavities and gum disease. By destroying them, you're removing one of the means your body has of defending itself against harmful diseases and infections. These alcoholic mouthwashes can also damage your gums, tongue, and the lining of your cheeks if you use it too much. It dries out these tissues, which can cause them to become inflamed, crack, and hurt.
Is Alcohol-Free Mouthwash as Effective?
Alcohol-free mouthwash has been shown to be nearly as effective as traditional mouthwash in killing bacteria. It isn't quite as powerful, but in return, it does not harm the helpful bacteria as much. It also doesn't dry out your mouth's tissues or cause other damage. It's much safer to use overall, especially when combined with brushing and flossing. If you have any questions about using mouthwash or selecting the right brand, we can help. Call us today to make an appointment.