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Feeling the burn with your mouthwash is a common occurrence. Although the sensation can be intense, many people tolerate it, believing it's a sign that the product is doing its job. But why does mouthwash burn, and is it possible to find a mouthwash that doesn't induce this fiery feeling?

Reasons Why Your Mouthwash Burns

1. It’s the Type of Mouthwash You’re Using

Not all mouthwashes are created equally. In fact, the type of mouthwash you’re using might be responsible for the burning sensation you’re feeling. Cosmetic mouthwashes, which only serve to mask bad breath, typically don't burn. On the other hand, therapeutic mouthwashes — those that combat plaque, gingivitis and cavities — often contain ingredients like alcohol, which can cause a burning sensation. 

Woman comparing mouthwashes while shopping, wondering why does mouthwash burn?

2. It’s the Ingredients in the Mouthwash

One of the most common ingredients of mouthwash that can cause a stinging or burning sensation in your mouth is alcohol. Some formulas contain more than 25 percent alcohol, which dehydrates the cells in your mouth and irritates delicate tissues.

Chlorhexidine is another common culprit of burning sensations, as noted by a study in the Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, and can occasionally cause further discomfort in the form of mouth ulcers and peeling with prolonged use. Certain natural antiseptics and flavoring agents like menthol, eucalyptol and thymol may also cause a burning feeling for those who are more sensitive to strong flavors and odors.

3. It’s Related to a Dental Issue

Sometimes, the burn you feel isn't due to the mouthwash itself but is a symptom of an underlying dental issue. Conditions like gum disease, mouth ulcers or oral infections can make oral tissues more sensitive, causing a heightened reaction to certain mouthwash ingredients. If your gums are sensitive or inflamed due to conditions like gingivitis, mouthwash could exacerbate the discomfort. Always consult your dentist if you experience persistent or severe burning, as this could indicate a more serious problem that needs addressing.

What Mouthwashes Won’t Burn?

Fortunately, there are oral rinses available that can provide the benefits of a clean, fresh mouth without the burn:

1. Alcohol-Free Mouthwashes

Opting for an alcohol-free mouthwash can significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing a burning sensation. Look for products labeled as "alcohol-free" or "alcohol-free formula."

2. Natural and Herbal Mouthwashes

Some mouthwashes are formulated with natural and herbal ingredients that are gentle on the oral tissues. They contain milder ingredients, such as aloe vera, chamomile and xylitol, which have soothing properties and can provide a clean, refreshing sensation without the burn.

3. Sensitivity-Focused Mouthwashes

There are mouthwashes specifically designed for individuals with sensitive teeth and gums. These mouthwashes typically contain ingredients that help alleviate sensitivity while avoiding ingredients that could potentially irritate sensitive oral tissues.

For those who want all the effectiveness of a mouthwash without the fiery sensation often associated with it, Twice Oral Wellness Immunity Rinse offers a gentler clean. Our Oral Wellness Immunity Rinse is alcohol-free, eliminating one of the main causes of the burning sensation commonly associated with mouthwashes. The absence of alcohol also makes it gentler on your mouth, reducing the risk of oral tissue dehydration and irritation. 

Ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil ensure a soothing, non-irritating experience, even for those with sensitive gums or teeth. Furthermore, the combination of colloidal silver, zinc and hydrogen peroxide offers a potent defense against bad bacteria while promoting good bacteria for a balanced microbiome — all without the harsh burn associated with other mouthwashes.

Important Tips for Using Your Mouthwash

To get the most out of your mouthwash and minimize any potential discomfort, consider the following tips:

  • Dilute the Mouthwash: If you find a particular mouthwash to be too strong or causing a burning sensation, try diluting it with water before use. This can reduce the concentration of active ingredients and make it more tolerable.
  • Follow Instructions: Always follow the recommended usage instructions provided by the mouthwash manufacturer. Using more than the recommended amount or rinsing for an extended period may increase the likelihood of experiencing a burning sensation.
  • Consult with Your Dentist: If you consistently experience a burning sensation despite trying different mouthwashes, it is advisable to consult with your dentist. They can evaluate your oral health, identify any underlying issues and recommend the most suitable mouthwash for your specific needs.
  • Pair with Proper Oral Hygiene: Remember, mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. It is the cherry on top of a good oral hygiene regimen.

While the burn of mouthwash can be off-putting for some, it doesn't have to be part and parcel of maintaining a healthy mouth. With a variety of gentler products on the market, it's entirely possible to have a fresh, clean mouth without any discomfort.

Looking for a clean, effective mouthwash without the burn? View Our Immunity Rinse Mouthwash

This page was written or reviewed for accuracy by the Twice Team. Learn more about us.