Including mouthwash in your oral hygiene regimen is recommended in addition to brushing and flossing. But, when it comes to mouthwashes, they’re not all the same. Most mouthwashes contain ethanol alcohol, which is responsible for that burning sensation in your mouth when you gargle (take it as an indication that it’s working!). Newer, alcohol-free versions are available, too, which may make you wonder if you should buy “regular” mouthwash or the alcohol-free version.
While both mouthwash types can have quality active ingredients, it should be noted that neither go beneath the gumline, and they can only kill superficial bacteria. A good mouthwash can, however, help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, plaque/tartar buildup, and bad breath. So, which mouthwash is right for killing bacteria, freshening breath, and giving you that oh-so-nice clean feeling? The answer is, it depends on what your needs are.
Reasons to Choose Alcohol-Free Mouthwash
The majority of mouth rinses on the market today are alcohol-based. An alcohol-free mouthwash may be the better choice if you dislike the burning sensation caused by alcohol-based mouthwash or if you have particular oral health problems. Some people are better suited for alcohol-free mouthwash, because it won’t aggravate any existing oral condition, such as xerostomia (dry mouth). Those with diabetes, system diseases, and people in radiation therapy may also want to choose an alcohol-free mouthwash, because they are not as drying as alcohol-based rinses. Those with a history of alcohol abuse who don’t want to be tempted may also choose alcohol-free mouthwash, because the typical mouthwash contains as much as 20% alcohol.
The Bottom Line
The truth is, most people don’t think twice about alcohol-based versus alcohol-free mouthwash. That’s because they have no reason to be concerned. However, if you have oral health issues, or if you’re concerned about dry mouth or a bacterial imbalance, you may want to choose an alcohol-free mouthwash for peace of mind. If you don’t have any health issues or you aren’t concerned about them, the more commonly available alcohol-based mouthwash choices are probably just fine for you.
Not sure about whether you should use alcohol-based or alcohol-free mouthwash? Contact us at Austell Dental Associates to learn more and to book your appointment. Call (770) 467-3888 today!