Most mouthwashes you see in drug stores contain an alcohol (specifically ethanol) which cause that initial burning sensation, and also bring an unpleasant taste and dryness of the mouth. Even if you don’t have lasting medical reasons to make the switch, what is the big difference with alcohol-free mouthwash and are there benefits to using the alternative?
Aside from burning sensations, the alcohol in mouthwash also destroys almost all the bacteria in your mouth – both the bad AND good bacteria. This means that unless you’re consistently using mouthwash each and every day, there are a lot of opportunities for bad breath to actually build up and an imbalance of bacteria to occur. Alcohol-free mouthwash may not completely wipe your mouth clean, but it does target more bad bacteria than good, creating a favourable balance to avoid further complications or bad breath. People who experience xerostomia (dry mouth), an otherwise low saliva flow due to certain medicinal side effects, radiation therapies or systemic diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome or diabetes, can all benefit from using alcohol free mouthwashes. Alcohol-free mouthwash is particularly beneficial for people who have a history of alcohol abuse as well.
Beyond these conditions, studies by BioMed Research International suggest alcohol free mouthwashes have a better effect on the gloss, colour, hardness and wear of tooth composite restorations compared to mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
There are various alcohol free mouthwashes that can prevent dental diseases and freshen breath. The mouthwash selection rivals toothpaste and toothbrushes in the oral care aisle, but a mouthwash should never replace brushing and flossing. Rather, mouthwashes should compliment your regular dental care routine to improve your oral health. Your dental health professional can recommend options of alcohol free mouthwashes that are most suitable for improving your own oral well-being.