Many patients go the extra mile in their dental hygiene routine by not only brushing and flossing but also rinsing with mouthwash. Mouthwash is an excellent way to retain a fresh mouth and flush out lingering oral bacteria that could cause decay, gum disease and bad breath. However, there are many mouthwash options to choose from. While brands and flavors are countless, mouthwash can be broken down into two main types: alcohol-based and alcohol-free.
Alcohol-based mouthwash has raised some concerns when to comes to health and safety. Yet, many patients question whether the alcohol-free versions are just as powerful and effective. Here is some better insight as to why most dentists recommend going alcohol-free with your mouthwash.
The Dangers of Alcohol-Based Mouthwash
Not all mouthwashes are created equal. Alcohol-based mouthwash comes with specific dangers that can threaten your oral health. A concerning risk is oral cancer, although the evidence is not yet clear. Mouthwash that contains a significantly high amount of alcohol can bathe your oral tissues for up to 60 seconds or more as you swish the liquid around in your mouth. In turn, this could mean you are also introducing a large amount of powerful carcinogens into your oral cavity. The research behind the risk of oral cancer and alcohol-based mouthwash is not clear-cut, but the concern certainly grows the more you use the mouthwash. A study in Australia reported that using this type of mouthwash more than three times a day puts you at a significantly increased risk of developing oral cancer.
It has also been shown that alcohol-based mouthwash could contribute to ulcers and damage to fillings. In addition, mouthwash that has alcohol is not safe or recommended for certain people groups, including children, diabetics and people undergoing chemotherapy. If there are individuals living in your home that should not use alcohol-based mouthwash, it may be wiser to choose an alcohol-free option instead.
Alcohol-Free Mouthwash Is Effective
Alcohol-free mouthwash is proven to maintain the natural balance of saliva that is necessary to flush out bacteria. Many rely on a combination of essential oils and fluoride to kill bacteria, protect your enamel and keep your gums healthy. There are several varieties of safe, alcohol-free mouthwash products to choose from, such as Listerine Zero or Listerine Total Care Zero.
Before Choosing a Mouthwash
It can be very beneficial to check with your dentist before you purchase a mouthwash and use it every day. You may be a candidate for a prescription mouthwash that treats bad breath or periodontal disease. At Crabapple Dental, we like to advise patients on oral care products based on their unique needs and concerns. Contact us today to learn more about keeping your smile safe and healthy between dental visits!