Why Does Mouthwash Burn?

Mouthwash plays an important role in dental hygiene, helping to freshen your breath and keep your mouth in good health.

However, if your chosen mouthwash burns your mouth when you use it, this could be cause for concern.

Read on to discover the three most common reasons why does mouthwash burn and what ingredient for an effective clean you should look for. Plus, how to prevent burning from happening.

What causes mouthwash to burn?

There are several possible reasons why your mouthwash burns your mouth, and these are as follows:

  1. It contains menthol

If your daily mouthwash contains menthol, this could be the culprit of your burning mouth. While menthol is great for freshening your breath and banishing bacteria, it can cause stinging, especially in those who have sensitive teeth and/or gums.

Fortunately, you can find menthol-free mouthwashes, both over-the-counter and with a prescription from your dentist or doctor.

  1. It contains alcohol

Alcohol is a common ingredient in mouthwash, but it can have several unwanted side effects, including burning and a dry mouth. Some mouthwashes contain high levels of alcohol, up to 25%, which can cause a stinging or burning sensation that is unpleasant.

Again, you can buy alcohol-free mouthwashes and oral rinses that are much less likely to cause a burning sensation in your mouth.

  1. It contains chlorhexidine

Chlorhexidine is another common ingredient in mouthwash as it helps to reduce plaque and fight gingivitis. However, it can also cause a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth. This is more likely to occur in people who are allergic to chlorhexidine.

What are the benefits of using mouthwash?

If you do not think that you need to use mouthwash as part of your oral hygiene routine, then the below benefits might be able to convince you to give one a try:

  • Mouthwash can whiten your teeth

You can find mouthwashes that contain ingredients that are designed to whiten and brighten your smile. Look for a mouthwash that contains a bleaching agent such as hydrogen peroxide or active charcoal for best results.

  • Mouthwash can strengthen tooth enamel

If you have weak tooth enamel, then an oral rinse that is specially formulated to prevent cavities and strengthen tooth enamel is exactly what you need.

  • Mouthwash can help to prevent gum disease

Mouthwashes that fight the bacteria that contribute to bad breath and plaque build-up usually contain essential oils such as menthol, thymol, and eucalyptus. This can be bought over-the-counter without a need for a prescription.

  • Mouthwash can combat a dry mouth

For those that suffer from a dry mouth which can often cause bad breath also, you can get mouthwashes that work to combat this oral health issue and leave your mouth feeling and smelling fresh.

How to choose a mouthwash

There are two main types of mouthwash: cosmetic mouth rinses and therapeutic mouthwashes.

Cosmetic mouthwashes

Cosmetic mouthwashes or oral rinses are designed to combat bad breath. These should leave a pleasant taste in your mouth as they do not contain any chemical or biological functions beyond this primary benefit.

You can buy cosmetic mouthwashes at most supermarkets and pharmacies, and you do not need a prescription from your dentist or doctor. Cosmetic mouthwashes can also be used to remove food debris from in between your teeth which can help to prevent tooth decay.

Therapeutic mouthwashes

A therapeutic mouthwash, on the other hand, has many other functions other than freshens your breath. Typically, these can be bought over-the-counter also, but some stronger formulas may require a prescription for your dentist or doctor.

Therapeutic mouthwashes or oral rinses can help to control plaque, reduce your risk of gingivitis, eliminate bad breath and prevent tooth decay. These types of mouthwash are sometimes referred to as anti-septic, anti-cavity, or anti-gingivitis.

If you think you may benefit from a therapeutic mouthwash or oral rinse, it can be a good idea to talk to your dentist in Asheville for more information.

Who shouldn’t use mouthwashes?

Although mouthwashes can be used as a part of your oral hygiene routine to help care for your teeth and gums, there are certain instances when this product can do more harm than good.

If you have mouth ulcers

If you are suffering from mouth ulcers, then a mouthwash with alcohol can cause a burning sensation and pain or discomfort. They can also delay the wound healing process by drying out the skin on the affected area.

If you have mouth ulcers and you want to use a mouthwash, look for an alcohol free mouthwash that will not cause these issues.

If you have gingivitis

Although mouthwash can help freshen your breath, alcohol-based oral rinses can cause additional pain or discomfort if you have gingivitis. Again, if you want to use a mouthwash and you suffer from gingivitis, then ask your dentist for a therapeutic rinse that does not contain alcohol.

If you experience an adverse reaction

If you use any mouthwash or oral rinse and you experience an adverse reaction, then you should stop using it right away and book an appointment with your dentist.


So, how do you prevent your mouthwash from burning your mouth when you use it?

The best way to use mouthwash safely and effectively is to make sure that you practice a good oral hygiene routine daily with brushing and flossing. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. Also, look for a mouthwash or oral rinse that is specifically designed to kill bacteria and treat the dental issues that you experience, whether that be bad breath, a build-up of plaque, or cavities.

If you regularly experience a burning sensation when using your mouthwash, then switch to an alcohol-free mouthwash, as alcohol and menthol are one of the most common culprits for a burning mouth.

Finally, if in doubt about what mouthwash you should be using or any other aspect of your oral health routine, make an appointment with your dentist to discuss your dental needs in more detail.