At one point there was concern that mouthwash might increase the risk of oral cancer. But this proved unfounded. It was only the mouthwash containing alcohol that was under suspicion.
A mouthwash containing alcohol apparently does raise the risk of oral cancer, but it depends on the exposure. Research indicates that alcohol mouthwashes would need to contain 25-40% alcohol, and be used three times per day for a full minute to really increase the risk of cancer. This is a fairly high amount of alcohol exposure.
More commonly, when people do use mouthwash it is gargled for half a minute, twice per day. This level of alcohol exposure is a little high, but probably not too bad.
There is a possibility that some individuals already had oral cancer, and were using mouthwash to remove the oral cancer sores. So the alcohol mouthwash was correlated with the cancer, even as it was not the cause.
Ironically, alcohol mouthwash can cause the mouth to dry out, leading to more bacteria and bad breath. This means it causes the very problems that it is supposed to remove. It is best to avoid alcohol mouthwashes.
Alcohol free mouthwashes are readily available. These can be used two or three times daily, and your teeth, not to mention you breath, will be benefit.
Dentist Newington – Types of Mouthwash
Antiseptic / general mouthwashes – The most common type. It does a decent job of killing off germs and bacteria, especially if you have already brushed you teeth, and it gives you fresh breath.
Fluoride mouthwashes – These are designed for sensitive or slightly damaged teeth. If the outer tooth enamel is damaged the fluoride in these mouthwashes will help re-calcify the enamel, and reverse the damage. It takes a few week to feel the benefits, but these mouthwashes can stop decay from getting worse, and reverse the process if we start using them early on.
Cosmetic Mouthwash – These just freshen the breath. they do no harm, but it would be better to use an antiseptic mouthwash that helps fight decay and bacteria.
Natural Mouthwashes – Mouthwashes with all natural, non-chemical ingredients. They shouldn’t cause any harm, but their effectiveness varies.
Prescription Mouthwashes – An extremely strong mouthwash that fights infections and gum disease. This will only be used for a short period, until the infection is removed.
Braces make regular brushing and flossing is difficult, but mouthwash still work well here . Mouthwash adds that extra bit of protection. We also recommend a Waterpik for cleaning between the teeth as flossing with braces is difficult.