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Mouthwash, also known as oral rinse or mouth rinse, is a liquid-based dental hygiene product that:
It’s common for mouthwash to cause a subtle, temporary tingling or burning sensation. However, they shouldn’t cause severe pain or burning.
Using a mouthwash that you’re sensitive to can irritate mouth tissue and lead to ulcers. It’s recommended to discontinue use if you use it as directed and still experience ongoing burning or discomfort. It might also be worth visiting your dentist to determine an alternative solution.
Mouthwash can cause a burning sensation for the following reasons:
Alcohol, often the main ingredient in mouthwash formulas, contains antiseptic properties, killing bacteria and sanitizing your mouth.4 Some oral rinses contain over 25% alcohol.
When you use mouthwash with alcohol, you might notice the burning feeling centralizes on your tongue. This is because taste buds on the tongue are more sensitive to alcohol than other areas in the mouth.
Chlorhexidine helps reduce plaque and fight gum disease.1 However, it’s another common mouthwash ingredient that can result in a burning or tingling sensation.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, some people have an uncommon but severe allergy to chlorhexidine.2
Menthol is derived from mint or peppermint and is commonly used to flavor mouthwash formulas. Some people are sensitive to menthol and experience severe burning instead of a pleasant tingling sensation.
Other typical mouthwash ingredients that can cause a tingling sensation include:
If your mouthwash causes ongoing burning symptoms or discomfort, stop using it. Consider diluting the mouthwash or opting for an alcohol-free alternative.
If you switch to an alcohol-free mouthwash but still experience burning, you might be sensitive to one of the other active ingredients. If so, sample a few formulas to find a rinse that works for you.
There are many natural alternative types of mouthwash advertised as burn-free. Here are some of the top-rated options available on Amazon:
Listerine is a popular mouthwash brand. This Naturals Antiseptic Mouthwash is a budget-friendly and natural option that reduces bad breath and removes plaque and bacteria.
Listerine labels the mouthwash as ‘99% natural.’ However, it contains alcohol, making the formula unsuitable for some people.
Contains the active ingredients:
The Hello Naturally Healthy Antigingivitis Mouthwash is both fluoride and alcohol-free. It also uses aloe vera, which may reduce plaque and bacteria.
This product is available on Amazon and at your local drugstore in three different flavors:
The Tom’s of Maine Refreshing Mint Sea Salt Mouthwash combines sea salt, aloe vera, and essential oils to clean your mouth and prevent plaque buildup. It also contains mint to freshen your breath and is alcohol-free.
Using mouthwash as part of your daily oral hygiene routine has various benefits, which can help address a particular issue and maintain proper oral hygiene.
The benefits of using mouthwash include:
Using mouthwash helps reduce the bacteria in your mouth, decreasing the amount of plaque that forms. Mouthwashes with strong antimicrobial properties also help prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Alcohol-based mouth rinses also reduce bacteria that cause bad breath (halitosis).
Mouthwash designed to whiten teeth often contains bleaching or whitening ingredients like hydrogen peroxide. Some contain other ingredients like coconut oil or activated charcoal.
Dentists prescribe therapeutic mouthwashes to treat various oral health conditions. For example, chlorhexidine mouthwash is sometimes prescribed to treat the symptoms of gingivitis.
Therapeutic mouthwash is commonly prescribed to:
Mouthwash shouldn’t be ingested in high amounts, especially by children. The American Dental Association (ADA) doesn’t recommend mouthwash for children under 6.3
If you have concerns about using a mouthwash, speak with a doctor or dentist first.
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