Should You Be Concerned about Alcohol-Containing Mouthwashes?

Mouthwashes have long contained alcohol in order to help to kill bacteria and other pathogens found in your mouth. However, a new trend is starting to move away from the use of alcohol in these washes, and the change is occurring for two major reasons.

By learning more about the possible negative effects of having alcohol in your mouthwash, you can make an informed decision about whether or not these options are right for you.

Alcohol Restricts Salivary Flow

If you are suffering from xerostomia, or dry mouth, alcohol-free mouthwash has likely been recommended by your dentist. This is because alcohol tends to have a drying effect on the mouth. Now, salivary flow has been connected to tooth decay, so more people are becoming concerned about how alcohol can impact your oral health.

Compounding this problem is the fact that medications can also contribute to dry mouth. More people than ever are taking drugs to combat certain medical conditions, and when combined with the drying effects of alcohol, your dry mouth symptoms can become even worse.

Alcohol is an Oral Cancer Risk Factor

Alcohol is also well known as being a risk factor for oral cancer. According to a 2011 study, researchers found that 37% of oral cancer cases experienced by men were the result of alcohol consumption, and the same was true of 17% of women with oral cancer.

The main concern with alcohol is that it contains acetaldehyde, which is the primary product of ethanology and is known to mutate certain cells. Alcohol is a toxin and an irritant, so regular and excessive exposure can put you at risk of certain disease, including oral cancer.

While the alcohol found in your mouthwash likely isn’t enough to cause any major health concerns, excessive consumption can be extremely problematic.

Do you need more help choosing the right mouthwash? Contact our office today.

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