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Alcohol in Mouthwash - Things to consider
Alcohol can be good...EXCEPT in your oral health products
Alcohol for cooking. A little drink after dinner. Alcohol to cleanse a wound. These are typical uses for alcohol and, like all things, in moderation don't really pose any danger for most people. But what if someone said "Alcohol in our dental products"? Is that really a good thing? The answer is NO.
Alcohol has been used for many years by leading oral care manufacturers as a way to "kill the germs" that people at one time associated with bad breath. Research has shown that it is not really the bacteria that we want to kill, but rather what is known as the "volatile sulfur compounds" produced by this bacteria. For too long people have been using alcohol mouthwashes as a way to eliminate bad breath but it has not been very effective.
What Is Alcohol?
Alcohol is really ethanol (or ethyl alcohol). While it does have some anesthetic and disinfecting properties it also acts as a desiccant, which means that it removes water. As you'll read further down, alcohol can lead to more serious oral health issues and alcohol mouthwash should be replaced with alcohol free alternatives.
Alcohol can cause a burning sensation in the oral cavity tissue. Most people believe that this is actually helping eliminate bad breath and also leading to better oral health. The truth is that the "burn" we experience is actually a bad thing, especially for chronic bad breath sufferers who use mouthwash many times a day and for people who have been using an alcohol mouthwash for many years. Long term exposure to alcohol can potentially lead to oral sores or even oral cancer.
While recent reports can be conflicting as to the actual support for alcohol in mouthwashes and oral cancer, it has been proven that alcohol and tobacco users increase their risk of oral cancer. People tend to use mouthwash, typically alcohol-based, to cover up their bad breath from alcohol and tobacco use and that can sometimes add to the effect of oral diseases, including cancer.
When we expose our mouths to the minute or two of rinsing with an alcohol mouthwash we experience that "burn" and are actually drying out the mouth and also destroying the "good" bacteria we need to maintain proper oral health. Our mouths are delicate balance of bacteria, saliva, minerals, etc... and when frequently using an alcohol mouthwash it's like using a 2-ton wrecking ball to knock down a small interior wall. Everything else around that wall gets destroyed as well!
Alcohol by its nature is a desiccant and will dry the surfaces it comes in contact with. When used in a mouthwash it can lead to the feeling of a dry mouth. Why is this bad? Our mouths need to maintain a certain level of moisture for proper oral health. When this level decreases it can increase the risk of tooth decay, cause gum problems, contribute to bad breath (halitosis) and other oral health issues. Harmful bacteria and bacteria waste products that would normally be washed away by saliva can now actually thrive in a dry mouth. Some issues associated with dry mouth:
- Higher risk of fungal infections
- Dental problems such as cavities, gum disease, bad breath
- Poor nutrition
- Poor sleep
- Problem speaking
- Difficulty swallowing tablet- or capsule-type medication
Seniors also have an increased risk of dry mouth and should take care in avoiding the use of alcohol mouthwash.
Children, Other People and Alcohol
Mouthwash is sold in large containers which hold enough to be fatal to young children. When swallowed in large quantities, mouthwash that contains alcohol can cause seizures, brain damage, and death. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that there were more than 10,000 calls to participating centers concerning mouthwash ingestion by children, some actually involving deaths.
Children, especially, should not use alcohol mouthwash. Most products that use dyes and color, such as mouthwash, attract a child's attention. Coloring and dyes serve no active role in elimination of bad breath or in disinfection of our mouths. If, after reading this, you still intend on using and keeping alcohol mouthwashes in your home, please keep them out of the reach of all children.
Other people that should stay away from alcohol mouthwash are people with an alcohol dependency, substance abusers, seniors, organ transplant patients, marrow transplant patients and pregnant women.
One thing that has been discovered through research is that alcohol has a tendency to shrink or negatively impact dental resins. If users of an alcohol mouthwash have a lot of dental work, they may be doing more harm than good. Spending sometimes thousands of dollars on cosmetic dental work people should be aware of the negative effects of alcohol mouthwash.
Manufacturers add color to their products in order to attract a buyer's attention among the dozens of dental care products found in stores today. Blue coloring can be used to entices users into thinking the product will be "cool and refreshing", green can indicate a minty flavor and red can make people think "hot" and/or burning for maximum effectiveness. It's all nonsense. Colors and dyes in mouthwash products add no value and can lead to staining of your teeth. While the amount of staining may be minimal why risk your dental investment.
The bottom line is that an alcohol free, clear mouthwash is your best solution as one part of an effective oral health care program. No alcohol to burn and dry your mouth. No dyes to discolor your dental investment.
All of our dental products are clear, non-staining and actually eliminate bad breath odors, not just cover them up like most store bought brands. The active ingredient, stabilized chlorine dioxide has been used for many years in municipal water treatment. It is very safe and effective in eliminating the volatile sulfur compounds I mentioned earlier that are the cause of bad breath.
You'll find that by using our dental care products you'll be providing your mouth with the best in oral health care products. Once you try our products, you will not want to go back to the more abrasive, and in some cases harmful, dental products found in stores...EVER!
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