People are only just realising why their mouth burns when using mouthwash – and it’s not good

A dentist says it's not a good sign if you feel a burning or stinging sensation when using mouthwash – here's what's causing the sensation in your mouth

Your oral hygiene may get worse if you use stinging mouthwash (stock photo)(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

We all know how important oral hygiene is – but did you know why mouthwash can cause your mouth to burn?

Mouthwash is a critical step in cleaning your teeth and keeping your mouth and gums healthy, but you may notice a burning sensation when using it. People are just now realizing why this happens—and it's not good.

Dr. Deepa Vakil, principal dentist and clinical director at Yor Dental, says enduring a stinging or burning sensation for 30 seconds while rinsing your mouth may not be a good thing and may highlight the need for you to use something less aggressive.

According to the Huffington Post, Wakil said: “Mourthwash can be harmful to oral health for a number of reasons. Some mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can dry out the mouth and reduce saliva production, leading to bad breath and tooth decay. The risk is higher. These harsh ingredients can further irritate the gums, which could lead to inflammation or injury over time, she warns.

She says it can also “disrupt” the natural balance of the oral microbiome – which is “vital for controlling harmful bacteria”. Experts recommend people choose mouthwashes that are alcohol-free and have “milder ingredients.”

There are a number of reasons why you might experience a burning sensation, and Vakil says it could be due to the alcohol content, preservatives or essential oils commonly found in most mouthwash products. While they both kill bacteria, they can also cause “irritation” and “inflammation” that can cause an uncomfortable feeling.

Dentists urge people with xerostomia (dry mouth) and oral irritation (cuts, ulcers or other forms of irritation) to avoid using mouthwash as it may worsen the irritation. She added: “Frequent use of antibacterial mouthwash can disrupt the natural balance of oral bacteria and may lead to other oral health problems, such as thrush or an increased risk of tooth decay.”

If you have sensitive oral tissues or experience burning or stinging after using mouthwash, Vakil offers some mouthwash alternatives. She recommends either using an alcohol-free mouthwash that contains alcohol-free antibacterial agents, which can help “reduce the risk of irritation,” or switching to a natural or herbal mouthwash that contains ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera, or xylitol. It's all gentle.

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