I’ll have a drop of the mouthwash please!


Check your mouthwash, some contain as much alcohol as spirits

Alcohol was commonly used as a steriliser and anaesthetic in medical treatments. Until the use of opiates, local anaesthetics and heat sterilisation became common, alcohol was in every Doctor’s medical bag. Alcohol can kill pretty much every bacteria it comes into contact with and this was very useful in preventing infection. The added bonus of alcohol as a rapid anaesthetic and relaxant is also well documented.

However, this has it’s limitations especially in the use of mouthwashes. Killing all the unwanted and wanted bacteria in your mouth with one mouthful of a mouthwash is an unnecessary massacre. If you are potentially tipping yourself over the scales of drink drive laws ( Alcohols levels in mouthwashes can reach nearly 30% proof) or doing damage to other parts of your body, such as your Pancreas, Liver and Kidneys, it may be a good idea to look for non-alcoholic alternatives. I know you are not meant to swallow mouthwash, but it does get into your bloodstream. Thankfully most of the mouthwash manufacturers now provide an alcohol free version. If you are in doubt, do talk to our dental hygiene team.

A mouthwash is not the cure or prevent  all solution or good oral health. It’s part of a wider oral health routine that involves diet, flossing and regular tooth brushing. A complete routine is what often what makes the difference for good oral care and health in the long term.

Best wishes


Dr Tom Keppel

Keppel Advanced Dentistry



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