The Reverie

Is Mouthwash Bad for Your Mouth? Dr. Jacci’s Take

Is mouthwash a part of your oral routine? It may being doing more harm than good.
Is Mouthwash Bad for Your Mouth? Dr. Jacci’s Take

I’m Dr. Jaclyn Tomsic, an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon out of Cleveland, OH specializing in wisdom teeth, dental implants, corrective jaw surgery, facial cosmetic surgery, and more. As an oral surgeon, I know mouthwash is part of most people’s dental regimen. But just because it’s a popular breath-freshener doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest option for your mouth. Many mouthwashes contain alcohol and irritants that can end up doing more harm than good in the long run. In this article, we’ll go through the pros and cons of mouthwash, and dive into other
alternatives that may be a better bet.

Potential Benefits & Pitfalls of Mouthwash

There are two main reasons why you might consider reaching for mouthwash: it freshens breath and it reaches areas of the mouth that can be difficult to brush, such as your wisdom teeth. Your wisdom teeth are in an area that is very hard to reach, and if you don’t take care of them you can risk issues. Mouthwash also succeeds at killing bacteria — getting rid of anything brushing and flossing could not accomplish.

That said, mouthwash can also cause stinging or a burning sensation because of the level of alcohol content in it. Even in alcohol-free formulas, many mouthwashes contain harmful additives like peroxide, flavorings, dyes, and sugars. These are all ingredients that do the opposite of helping your teeth. These mouthwashes tend to kill all bacteria, even the good ones that your mouth needs for a balanced oral microbiome.

Mouthwash Alternatives & Evolving Trends

Besides skipping mouthwash altogether, people have also tried their hand at replacing it with alternatives such as oil pulling, tongue scraping, tea tree oil, and baking soda. Better & Better’s BALANCE Vitamin Mouth Spray is a new entry in the natural alternatives market. Unlike your average mainstream mouthwash, which usually just freshens breath by temporarily killing off all your mouth’s bacteria, BALANCE tackles the root causes of oral health issues with a dose of
vitamins and key ingredients for oral wellness. By balancing the oral microbiome and oral pH while also fighting dry mouth, the oral spray replaces the job of mouthwash, fighting bad breath while keeping the necessary “good” bacteria in your mouth.

Better Breath is a Spray Away

One of the key ingredients in BALANCE spray is zinc, which has been proven to actively fight bad breath, rather than just masking it with mint. Zinc also helps heal canker sores and prevent dry mouth and cavities, along with xylitol, vitamin B12, cucumber, and sage, which also help combat bad breath and have healing capabilities. In addition to zinc, the BALANCE Vitamin Mouth Spray contains a dose of five essential vitamins: C, D3, E, B6, and B12. These vitamins enter the body through transbuccal absorption (meaning through the cheeks) and sublingual absorption (under the tongue). When you swallow a supplement capsule, the vitamins get broken down by the digestive process, leaving little behind for your body to actually use. When you take liquid vitamins, they bypass the gut, and go straight into the bloodstream. Taking your vitamins through a spray is also easier than swallowing a pill, and more convenient on-the-go (no rinsing or spitting required!).

The Best Way to Use Balance

Before use, shake well. For adults, 3 sprays are recommended, 3 times per day after meals, or as recommended by a health professional.

The key takeaway? While using mouthwash is a way to beat germs and reach all areas of the mouth, the vitamin spray targets the issues surrounding the oral microbiome without killing good bacteria. That’s why I’ve chosen to make it part of my routine, and why I recommend it to my patients.


Dr. Jaclyn Tomsic, MD, DMD, FACS, is a board-certified Oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMF) based out of Cleveland, OH. OMF involves extensive dental and medical education and training to achieve surgical expertise and an unparalleled understanding of esthetics. Being an OMF surgeon qualifies Dr. Tomsic to treat conditions, defects, injuries, and esthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, jaw, and face. Learn more about Dr. Jacci on her website, and follow her on Instagram at @DoctorJacci.

Antibacterial mouthwashes tend to kill all bacteria, even the good ones that your mouth needs for a balanced oral microbiome.