“Feeling the Burn” is Good for Workouts, Not Mouth Rinses

“Feeling the burn” can be a good thing if you’re adding an extra mile to your morning jog or loading another 20 pounds on that barbell at the gym. However, it’s not a great characteristic for mouth rinses.

Mouth rinses that burn when you use them often do so because of their alcohol content, and while you may equate that tingling sensation with killing the bad germs in your mouth, rinses containing alcohol may actually pave the way for increased bacteria.

Following is some information on how alcohol in rinses can thwart good oral health: 

      They can dry the mucosal tissue in your cheeks and gums, and that can lead to decreased saliva production. Saliva is your body’s natural bad breath and germ-fighting mechanism. Less saliva can result in more bacteria in your mouth. This is particularly bad news for patients trying to manage periodontal disease.

      Alcohol-containing mouth rinses can irritate canker sores. These little sores hurt enough on their own. Who wants to do anything to cause them to flare?

      They cover up bad breath, rather than cure it. All the tingly mouth rinse in the world cannot overcome a poor oral hygiene routine. While you may receive a short-term fix to stinky breath, proper brushing and flossing trumps mouth rinse for long-lasting results every time. And don’t forget to brush your tongue.

      They have been associated with oral cancer. There still is much debate over this, but the connection between rinses with alcohol and oral cancers has been discussed since the 1970s.

About 55 percent of people use mouth rinses, compared with just more than 40  percent in 2006, according to Mintel research quoted in a Daily UK article. For bad breath, the dental professionals quoted in the article suggest looking for rinses that contain ingredients such as chlorine dioxide, which is supposed to kill the volatile sulphur compounds in your mouth that cause it.

If you feel strongly about keeping mouth rinse in your daily dental hygiene routine, there are brands available that do not contain alcohol. Look for a brand that contains fluoride to help strengthen your teeth. And be sure to swish the rinse around in your mouth for the recommended length of time. It takes a certain amount of time for the ingredients to be in your mouth for them to work. Rinsing for less than what is recommended means you’re likely washing good money spent on mouth rinses right down the drain.

Most people use mouth rinses because they believe they have bad breath. If you fall into this category, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a checkup. It’s better to identify and treat the cause of your bad breath rather than just cover it up , as it could be a sign of a more serious dental health issue.

Please call the office of San Francisco dentist Dr. Robert Walley today if you want to get to the bottom of your bad breath. We can perform a comprehensive exam to determine what’s going on inside your mouth.