Why Does Mouthwash Burn

Why Does Mouthwash Burn

Mouthwash benefits our oral hygiene by freshening breath and killing bacteria stuck on the tongue and teeth. Only about half of the U.S. population regularly uses mouthwash, however.

The liquid-based oral hygiene product comes in assorted styles and flavors, as well as unflavored versions. Specialty versions promise to whiten the teeth or provide other great benefits. Special mouthwash for children is available. All products are available from many different oral hygiene companies.

Benefits of Using Mouthwash

Dentists agree that regular mouthwash use is a key component in good oral hygiene. People who use mouthwash every day enjoy a plethora of benefits that include:

  • Freshens the breath
  • Whitens
  • Strengthens tooth enamel
  • Helps fight gingivitis and gum disease

Why Does Mouthwash Burn

A ‘Tingly Sensation’

If you see a mouthwash commercial on TV, they’ll likely highlight that ‘tingly sensation’ users get after using the product. They use this information in their advertisements because for most users, it does create tingly-fresh feelings on the tongue and teeth. Most users feel like a mouthwash is really working when they feel the tingly sensation in their mouths.

In fact, about 33% of Americans think that tingly sensation means that it is working. And about 24% of people who do not use mouthwash avoid it because it burns their mouth.

Burning is a much different sensation than a ‘tingly sensation.’ You should not experience a burning sensation in your mouth after using mouthwash. What does it mean if you do?

When mouthwash burns, it’s usually because you are sensitive to one of the ingredients inside the product. Mouthwash contains numerous ingredients designed to benefit your oral health.

Why Does Mouthwash Burn

Why Does Mouthwash Burn?

The ingredients in mouthwash are often responsible for burning sensations and discomfort when it is used.

Those ingredients include:

  • Alcohol: The main ingredient in many oral rinses, alcohol kills bacteria and helps freshen your breath. With as much as 25% alcohol in some mouthwashes, the strong concentration can irritate the mouth tissue and may even cause sores in the mouth.
  • Menthol: Another common mouthwash ingredient, menthol also causes the burning sensation many people feel when using the product. The menthol flavor comes from essential oils, which can irritate your mouth.
  • Chlorhexidine: Another ingredient commonly found in mouthwash, Chlorhexidine fights plaque and gingivitis. The ingredient also kills bacteria responsible for bad breath. The FDA lists a rare, but serious allergy, some people have to Chlorhexidine.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Some mouthwash contains hydrogen peroxide rather than alcohol. Some contain both of the ingredients. It is when the ingredients are together that most people find the burning sensation most common. The antiseptic properties of hydrogen peroxide make the ingredient a good choice for oral hygiene. Sadly, hydrogen peroxide irritates some people.

Mouthwash does not include every ingredient on this list and may include others we’ve not listed. Reading the ingredient list before buying mouthwash can help narrow down the cause of burning if this problem occurs.

On the front of the bottle, you’ll likely find out the main ingredient in the mouthwash. The front label also includes information about specialty benefits that the product might offer. For example, many mouthwash brands offer a ‘whitening’ version.

Why Does Mouthwash Burn

Does All Mouthwash Burn?

With the right mouthwash, burning and discomfort is not something that you will experience. Remember, burning is not the same as a tingly sensation. If using mouthwash hurts your mouth or causes discomfort, it is time to stop using the product and find something that works more appropriately for your needs.

Most people can find a mouthwash that will not burn their mouth. Everyone has different levels of sensitivity, which often affects the way mouthwash affects their mouths, however.

Trial and error can help find a mouthwash that does not burn or otherwise irritate your mouth. It may take a few different products to find something that does not cause your mouth to burn.

Find a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol because they tend to be more gentle to the tongue. Most leading brands offer an alcohol-free option.

Discontinue using any mouthwash that burns or causes ongoing discomfort. If you are sensitive to a mouthwash or its ingredients, long-term use may cause ulcers in the mouth. Choose an alcohol-free version or a more natural option instead of the current product.

It is not unusual for mouthwash to tingle in your mouth when rinsing with it, but burning or discomfort is not usual. The benefits of mouthwash are lost when it causes enough discomfort to cause concern. Make sure to try out a few different mouthwash options if burning occurs.

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