The Facts Behind Alcohol-Based and Alcohol-Free Mouthwash
Using mouthwash is one of the extra steps you can take beyond routinely brushing your teeth in order to improve your dental health. The bacteria-killing effects of mouthwash have long been known, but many people find it unpleasant or too intense. This is due to the presence of alcohol, more specifically ethanol, which is added to carry active ingredients that eliminate plaque. Fortunately, suitable alternatives exist for those who don’t want to stop their mouthwash usage.
Mouthwash as we know it was invented in the late 1800’s as part of a boom in dental care products. For centuries prior to this, traditional rinses with organic ingredients were used in attempts to clean the teeth and gums, but it wasn’t until the creation of Listerine in 1879 that the traditional, alcohol-based formulas we know today were made popular. Modern alcohol-based mouthwashes are effective in getting rid of plaque, reducing gingivitis, and freshening breath. However, there’s still the issue of its intense taste. This is where the world of alcohol-free mouthwash comes into play.
A New Way to Rinse
Alcohol-free mouthwash was introduced to the United States in the early 1990’s, and it provides the same potency as its alcohol-based counterpart with several added benefits. While slightly harder to find than the traditional variety, alcohol-free mouthwash has a more palatable taste, with no trademark “burn.” The active ingredient in these mouthwashes, cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), does not need to be carried via alcohol.
The lack of alcohol in a mouthwash can be a welcome relief for those who suffer from xerostomia (dry mouth), as alcohol further dries out the mouth. Also, there are concerns that alcohol-based mouthwashes are too effective, killing even the good bacteria in your mouth that keep you healthy. And on a practical note, alcohol-free mouthwash is a wise choice for children, former alcohol abusers, and people who abstain from alcohol for personal or religious reasons.
All in all, recent studies suggest that alcohol-free mouthwash has more positive effects on the gloss, color, and overall composition of your teeth. A mouthwash like Thieves by Young Living is effective in fighting gingivitis and freshening breath, all while using simple, non-synthetic ingredients.
Know the Effects
The alcohol content of mouthwash can be as high as 27 percent by volume. Apart from worsening a dry mouth, this can also be enough to negate your saliva’s protective effects and trigger tooth decay. And although the facts are in dispute, some studies claim that alcohol-based mouthwash may be a risk factor for certain oral cancers. It should be noted that other risk factors like smoking also play a part in these findings, so it’s appropriate to consider these findings in their full context.
Do you have questions about your dental health? Are you concerned that your dental care routine isn’t getting the job done? For any of these concerns, we encourage you to contact Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry. Robert D’Alfonso and his team are ready to provide you with answers and give you a bright, confident smile.