Our first instinct says that mouthwash should eradicate dental problems instead of creating one. Isn’t It? Why does a mouthwash burn? Burning sensation after using mouthwash is fairly common amongst people. There could be various reasons why a mouthwash burns gums, tongue, or the oral cavity in general.
First, we will look at what it is and then move further on to why a mouthwash causes burn in the targeted area.

What is mouthwash?

As the name indicates, mouthwash is also referred to as an oral rinse that is often used to fulfill dental hygiene needs.
Brushing has always been considered primary for dental care but couple it with mouthwash, and there is a significant difference on the whole.
However, it is very important to understand that mouthwash alone has limited effect and cannot replace brushing.

Contents of a mouthwash

Therapeutic mouthwashes are composed of chlorhexidine, cetyl pyridinium oxide, or chlorine dioxide fused with essential oils, such as thymol, eucalyptol, menthol, etc.
These essential oils are alcoholic in nature and may cause problems like itching, tingling, or burning in the mouth, details of which are covered in the next few paragraphs.

Why does mouthwash burn?

Most people complain of burning in the mouth after the use of mouthwash. Let’s see its ingredients

  1. Antiseptic agents
  2. Essential Oils
  3. Odor cutting compounds

5 reasons why mouthwash burn

  1. Alcohol
  2. Menthol
  3. Cuts and bruises
  4. Bacterial Load/ulcers
  5. Braces

Alcohol presence

Alcohol makes the base of a mouthwash. Its presence is the reason why we feel a burning sensation
after the use of mouthwash is experienced. Alcohol is not added in the amount to show bactericidal activity, so used as a carrier for other contents.


It is taken out from peppermint oil which by nature has tingling after effect. Rinsing with a high volume of mouthwash with menthol gives a burning sensation.

Cuts and bruises

There may be many reasons for cuts and bruises in the mouth or inner cheek. Exposure of these muscles to mouthwash containing alcohol; menthol will cause burning and discomfort.

Bacterial load (gingivitis and plaque)/ ulcers

Menthol irritates ulcer wounds. The best option is to skip the use of mouthwash until it’s there.
Mouthwashes are very effective in plaque removal. With regular use, it gently swipes away the tarter. On the other hand, it doesn’t work like this for gingivitis patients. Alcohol-based mouthwashes can act as an added pain factor for them.


People having braces for teeth alignment often face burning problems when they use a mouthwash. Teeth weaken due to these wires and strings and become sensitive to chemicals. An alcohol-free variant is suitable for them.


If you have any queries regarding oral health, please contact Cypress Dental in Texas. We are here for your aid. Call us at 832 427 6620 for more details.

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