Many of us reach for mouthwash to beat bad breath or to put an extra shine on freshly-brushed teeth. But do you ever experience a burning sensation when using mouthwash?

If so, it could be cause for concern.

Types of Mouthwash

There are two common types of mouthwash found in stores:

  • Cosmetic mouthwash: These control bad breath and leave behind a nice taste, but they have no chemical or biological function. The benefits are purely temporary. These types of mouthwash help to dislodge food stuck in the teeth, which helps reduce the risk of tooth decay. If a product doesn’t kill bacteria associated with bad breath, then its benefit is considered to be solely cosmetic.
  • Therapeutic mouthwash: These are available over the counter and by prescription. These help reduce or control plaque, gingivitis, bad breath, and prevent tooth decay. They may be called antiseptic, anti-plaque, anti-gingivitis, or anti-cavity, depending on their focus.

Why a Mouthwash Would Burn

There are a couple factors at play when a mouthwash starts to burn inside the mouth. Here’s a look at each.

  • Menthol is used in mouthwash, giving it a strong, minty flavor and makes your mouth tingly and cold. Rinses with high levels of menthol are likely to sting the most. Menthol is used in dental products because it is antimicrobial, meaning it kills bacteria and stops their growth.
  • Alcohol is also a common component in mouthwash. Alcohol has the ability to kill germs, but mouthwash doesn’t contain enough alcohol for that to happen. Instead, it’s there to act as a vehicle for other ingredients. It can also dry out your mouth. Some mouth rinses contain high levels of alcohol—ranging from 18 to 26%. This may cause a burning sensation in the cheeks, teeth, and gums.

Burning can also come from overuse of mouthwash, which creates irritated mouth tissue and can lead to mouth sores! The alcohol in mouthwash may also cause pain in the your mouth if you have gingivitis.

If you experience a bad reaction to a mouth rinse, stop using it and talk to us right away. You may need to switch to a non-alcohol mouthwash.

So, how can you solve the mouthwash burn? Get back to basics—creating a consistent brushing and flossing routine can work wonders for your oral health.

Sherman Oaks Dentistry Dr Perlaza