Mouthwash: Alcohol vs. Alcohol Free

Many types of popular mouthwashes are alcohol-based, which has become a cause for concern. Studies have linked certain health risks to alcohol-based mouthwash, leading to the production of more alcohol-free varieties. But are the alcohol-free mouthwashes as effective as alcohol-based brands?

Effectiveness of Mouthwash

While alcohol-based mouthwashes are capable of killing bacteria, other types can still be effective. Neither type of mouthwash will be 100% effective, which is why brushing and flossing are still important. Not to mention, the effectiveness of mouthwash is partly based on how long you have it in your mouth. The longer it’s swishing around, the more bacteria you’ll kill off.

Here in lies the problem for alcohol-based formulas since they cause a strong burning sensation in your mouth, compelling people to spit it out early, reducing its overall effectiveness.

Dry Mouth From Alcohol Based Mouthwashes

Alcohol-based mouthwash can also has the drawback of causing dry mouth. Alcohol is a desiccant—a drying agent—that dries up the saliva in your mouth. Saliva is needed to wash away food particles and maintain nutrient levels in the mouth, so obviously this is not desirable. Not only is having a dry mouth uncomfortable, it can actually make bad breath worse and increase the risk of tooth decay.

Alcohol-free mouthwash doesn’t have this problem, making it a better bet for maintaining your oral health. The positive effect it has tends to last longer since it doesn’t upset the natural balance in your mouth the way alcohol-based brands do.

Usability of Alcohol-Free Mouthwash

One of the best things about alcohol-free mouthwash is anyone can use it. It won’t make children sick if they accidentally swallow it, which may happen when first learning to use mouthwash. It also lacks the burning sensation, making it easier to use for children and those who have oral health conditions, such as mouth sores or burning mouth syndrome.