Scottsdale Dentist: Alcohol or Alcohol Free Mouthwash?

There are hundreds of mouthwashes on the market – it can be difficult to know their differences and to choose the right one – especially when they all say basically the same thing on their label! One of the most noticeable differences of mouthwashes is their content (or lack thereof) of alcohol.

Alcohol (marketed as ethanol) is not a necessary ingredient for your mouthwash – but an alcohol containing mouthwash feels different than a non-alcohol mouthwash.

Alcohol Mouthwashes:

  • give you the sensation of “it’s working” by feelings of burning or super freshness
  • kill the good (and bad) bacteria in your mouth
  • may cause dry mouth (xerostomia)
  • provides protection for long periods of time after rinsing

Alcohol Free Mouthwashes:

  • most likely contain cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), which reduces plaque and gingivitis symptoms
  • provides protection for long periods of time after rinsing
  • is a less harsh antiseptic – still effectively kills bacteria
  • reduces the likeliness of mouthwash-caused dry mouth or sensitivity from alcohol

There is not a right choice on choosing alcohol or alcohol free mouthwash, however, trends are leaning towards alcohol free mouthwash for home use as it is easier to use every day without common issues that alcohol mouthwash may give.

The best ingredients to look for in your mouthwash extend beyond alcohol, such as

  • cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) (fights against plaque)
  • fluoride (for preventing decay)
  • peroxide (for whitening and germ killing)
  • chlorohexidine (very effective antiseptic)
  • essential oils (organic and therapeutic addition to your rinse)