Is Alcohol-Based Mouthwash Bad for You?

June 28, 2018 7:12 pm

The intense sting of an alcohol-based mouthwash may make you feel like it’s super effective at destroying bad breath germs in your mouth as you use it. But could the alcohol actually be harming your teeth? Let’s take a look.

How Alcohol Affects Teeth

Alcohol and teeth don’t go well together. This is because alcohol is highly acidic and can dissolve your teeth’s enamel, the protective outer layer. Over time, exposure to alcohol can lead to tooth decay and eventual tooth loss if left untreated.

Clear glass of yellow-orange alcohol that will dissolve your teeth's enamel over time

Alcoholic Drinks vs. Alcohol-Based Mouthwash

Alcohol-based mouthwash isn’t like an alcoholic beverage. In fact, it’s worse for your teeth. This is because mouthwash contains a higher concentration of alcohol than an alcoholic drink, and it is exposed to your teeth for a longer period of time. Over-exposure to alcohol can even increase your chance of developing oral cancer in the future, since tumors develop in acidic environments.

Healthier Alternatives

Swishing with mouthwash probably isn’t something that you need to do every day to maintain your oral health. In fact, simply brushing and flossing your teeth twice per day and rinsing thoroughly with water does an excellent job freshening up your breath and supporting healthy, strong teeth. If you do want to use a mouthwash to boost your mouth’s bacteria-fighting ability, buy an alcohol-free anti-plaque/anti-gingivitis mouthwash or a natural mouthwash. You can also buy sugar-free gum and mints with xylitol to freshen your breath and even help prevent tooth decay. Watch for the American Dental Association seal on the label to make sure it is dentist approved!

Clear glass against a sky blue background having water poured into it as a healthy alternative to alcohol-based mouthwash

Consult with Our Expert Team

Don’t forget to get twice yearly checkups with our dentists so we can properly monitor the state of your oral health and catch any potential issues in their early stages. If you have questions about the right type of mouthwash to use, or alternatives to mouthwash, we’re happy to help you here at Riverstone Dental Care. Contact us to schedule an appointment!

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