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Mouthwashes are an important part of any oral hygiene routine, and should be included along with regular brushing and flossing for maximum effect. In the past, most mouthwashes have included various concentrations of ethanol, or alcohol, which helps eliminate bacteria living inside your mouth. However, there are also many different mouthwashes out there that don’t list ethanol as an ingredient. What are the difference between these, and which kind of mouthwash should you use?
Ethanol is the kind of alcohol that is normally found in regular alcoholic drinks like beer and wine that one would enjoy responsibly. Its purpose in mouthwash, however, is not for consumption. Instead, ethanol acts as an effective compound that kills off bacterias living in your mouth, reducing your risk of gum disease and gingivitis. If your mouthwash causes a burning sensation in your mouth as you’re swishing it, it likely contains some amount of alcohol. Another use of ethanol that many people do not realize is its use for dissolving other compounds commonly found in mouthwash, like menthol and methyl salicylate. These compounds have a hard time dissolving in water alone, so an ethanol based solvent can help keep these dissolved in your mouthwash.
Ethanol is dangerous to humans in high amounts, thus prompting the debate on whether or not they should be included in mouthwash, which is something people should be using on a daily basis. Despite the risks, alcohol-containing mouthwashes remains safe if used in the way they’re meant to be, but there are certain situations where alcohol-free might be the way to go. Pregnant women, for example, should steer away from mouthwashes with alcohol, as alcohol can easily be absorbed through the mouth. For many people, the burning sensation alone is enough to encourage them to find an alternative solution. In non-alcoholic mouthwashes, ingredients such as baking soda are often used to help scrape off plaque. The other active ingredients are still present, so for the most part the mouthwashes remain relatively the same. Moreover, mouthwashes are available in an assortment of flavours, variable enough to satisfy even the choosiest of customers.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference as to which mouthwash to use. Although both have some benefits and drawbacks, the most important part is that you’re using mouthwash and keeping a strong oral hygiene regimen. Looking for more information? You can reach us at (587) 317‑7959 at anytime!