A Word of Caution on Mouthwashes

We all know that mouthwashes make the mouth feel cleaner and smell nicer.  We’re pretty convinced by now that Listerine kills bacteria.  However, most of the potent mouthwashes are alcohol based, and alcohol is a carcinogen.  There are studies out there that link alcoholic mouthwashes to oral cancer.  Many who use alcoholic mouthwashes are smokers, to cover the tobacco smoke smell—yet smoking is also carcinogenic, and the combination of both smoking and alcoholic mouthwashes increases the risk of developing cancer far more than each product individually, as the alcohol enhances the carcinogens in tobacco products.  Further, alcohol mouthwashes are much higher proof than some alcoholic drinks (as much as 52 proof), and unlike beer and wine, which are in the mouth for a relatively short period of time, alcoholic mouthwashes are held in the mouth for an extended period of time.  But you say, the product is ADA (American Dental Association) approved.  That is because many of the mouthwashes also add fluoride to prevent tooth decay—that’s why they are approved.  Am I saying not to use mouthwash—no.  Be judicious in its use, especially if you are a smoker, and possibly consider non-alcoholic mouthwashes, although the germicidal nature of those mouthwashes is very limited compared to the alcoholic kind

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