Myth 2: Mouthwash is harmless
Many mouthwashes contain a high amount of alcohol. This can cause a dry mouth, which ironically is a cause of bad breath, and irritate oral tissues. “In some people, the alcohol can cause sensitivity to the root surfaces of the teeth,” adds Lewis West, a Toronto dentist. There have also been studies suggesting a link between alcohol-containing mouthwash and oral cancer, but the research is limited and many experts says there’s not enough evidence to draw this conclusion.
Alcohol-free mouthwashes are available. But other ingredients can cause side effects, too. Many can stain your teeth or cause a burning sensation. Essential oils may have an uncomfortably sharp taste. Chlorhexidine can temporarily alter your sense of taste, and isn’t recommended for long-term use. Mouthwash is not meant to be ingested, so it may cause problems if accidentally swallowed. It’s not usually recommended for young children.