General Dentistry

Between dental visits, mouthwash is a great way to freshen up your breath and protect your teeth from cavities. Incorporating mouthwash into your oral hygiene routine can give you an added advantage in keeping your smile healthy.

Picking the right mouthwash is an important decision to make. Should we get one with alcohol or a non-alcoholic one? It’s great to ask these questions before deciding on what product to use.

Let us find out the purpose of alcohol in mouthwash and figure out if it’s better to use alcoholic or non-alcoholic varieties for oral health.

Alcohol-Based Mouthwash

What component does an alcohol-based mouthwash have?

The alcohol that’s in alcoholic mouthwash is ethanol. This is basically the same ingredient in things like perfume, hand sanitizer and cold/flu medicine, amongst other common products.

The alcohol content in these products is way higher than drinkable alcoholic beverages, which usually have around 5-12% ABV. In comparison, mouthwash usually has 20%+ ABV. And because mouthwash has alcohol, it’s only intended for cleaning, not for consumption—like alcoholic beverages.

Ethanol isn’t the only good stuff in mouthwash – your favorite one also has all the usual ingredients. Swishing it around your mouth helps get those antimicrobial agents, fluoride and minty flavors down to places that are hard to reach otherwise.

Mouthwash with alcohol can kill bacteria, a study finds!

Alcohol is an awesome bacteria-buster! It can kill germs in the depths of your mouth that your toothbrush may have missed. Mouthwash helps you get to those places, cleaning out any crevices where bacteria might be lurking.

Sure, alcohol-based mouthwash can kill all the bacteria in your mouth but there are beneficial and harmful bacteria in the mouth so it’s not the ideal solution.

It’s important to maintain the right balance of bacteria in your mouth. If you kill too much good and bad bacteria, it could throw everything out of whack and cause issues like bad breath. Swishing with an alcohol-based mouthwash might feel nice, but it can actually do more bad than good in the long run. It does kill off bad bacteria, but it also strips away beneficial bacteria at the same time. So, you might end up with more problems rather than solving them.

When it comes to killing germs, alcohol-based mouthwash is much more effective than its non-alcohol equivalent. Non-alcohol versions may not be as efficient at eliminating bacteria. Actually, some alcohol-free mouthwashes contain ingredients that do what ethanol does in regular ones. Plus, they’re usually better at cleaning your teeth too!

When to Avoid Using Alcohol-Based Mouthwash

  • Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is caused by lack of saliva. Using an ethanol-based mouthwash can trigger this condition. So, it’s a good idea to use an alcohol-free option on a regular basis.
  • If you have burning mouth syndrome, avoiding alcohol mouthwash is highly recommended. It’ll only make your condition worse, and can also cause other irritations in the mouth. 
  • If your gums are extra sensitive, be sure to pick a gentle mouthwash or one that your dentist has recommended. Also use toothpaste designed for sensitive gums and follow the instructions on it. 
  • Pregnant? That calls for a no-alcohol mouthwash! Alcohol in any form is bad news for mom and baby so make sure to use an alcohol-free version while you’re expecting.
  • Diabetes can cause a nasty case of dry mouth and make brushing and flossing painful. It can also lead to gum inflammation and sensitivity in your mouth, so swishing with alcohol-based mouthwash might not be the best idea. 
  • Don’t share your mouthwash with kids! Alcohol-based mouthwash can cause serious health issues for children. Play it safe and opt for an alcohol-free version of the product to keep them healthy. 
  • If you’re an alcoholic in recovery, it’s important to avoid alcohol-based mouthwash as it could cause a relapse. Go for an alcohol-free version instead. That way, you can stay on track with your recovery and take care of your oral health at the same time.


Flouride or Alcohol-Free Mouthwash

What is a Flouride Mouthwash?

Fluoride mouthwash is a type of oral hygiene product that helps to protect your teeth and gums from cavities and other forms of dental decay. It contains fluoride, which is a mineral that helps to strengthen your tooth enamel and make it more resistant to the bacteria that cause cavities. Fluoride mouthwash can be used in addition to brushing and flossing to help keep your mouth healthy.

 Non-alcoholic mouthwashes are a great way to fight off periodontal diseases, reduce dryness, decay of teeth, bad breath, plaque and tartar build-up. Some mouthwashes don’t contain alcohol and can help whiten your teeth.

Make sure to check for specific ingredients like flouride, hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine gluconate, and other natural ingredients if you opt for alcohol-free mouthwashes.

If you’re looking for an alternative to mouthwash with alcohol, non-alcoholic mouthwash is a great option. Not only does it protect your teeth and gums, but it also does a better job of cleaning your mouth than alcohol-based products.

Instead of killing bacteria like other mouthwashes, alcohol-free ones actually increase saliva production which helps your mouth get rid of germs. Making the switch to an alcohol free mouthwash could be beneficial as it can help save you from dry mouth & uneven bacteria levels, and eliminate bad breath.


Although mouthwashes that are free from alcohol can definitely help with your dental hygiene, it should never substitute brushing and flossing which are essential for maintaining a healthy smile.

When shopping for a mouthwash, try to find one that compliments your usual oral hygiene routine. It might be worth asking your dentist about which alcohol-free mouthwash could best benefit you and enhance your oral health.

Talk to Your Local Dentist to Know the Right Mouthwash for You!

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is essential for good oral hygiene. To ensure that you’re using the right mouthwash, it’s important to talk to your dentist at Gentle Touch Family Dentistry. We can help you understand which type of mouthwash is best suited to your needs and provide advice on how to use it properly. With our expertise, you can be sure that you are taking the necessary steps towards a healthier smile!

Call us today to learn more!