Aside from being ineffective, there are other problems associated with mouthwashes. One of these is an allergic reaction. The colorings and flavorings used in most commercial mouthwashes are potential allergens. One common ingredient is alcohol which has been linked to mouth and throat cancers.

"The mouthwashes' alcohol content ranges from 6 percent (by volume) to nearly 27 percent. Alcohol in high concentration creates a burning sensation in the mouth; regular use can dry out the mucous membrane and aggravate existing inflammation" according to Consumer Reports.

The alcohol-cancer connection in mouthwashes was revealed in 1991 by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI). The habits of 850 oral cancer patients were studied and researchers found that most rinsed regularly with a high-alcohol mouthwash. "High-alcohol" is defined as a mouthwash containing 25 percent or more of alcohol.

"Women who used such rinses had a risk of oral cancer that was higher by 90 percent; men, by 60 percent. Alcohol, the researchers said, may or may not cause cancer in and of itself, but it may promote the disease by dissolving and. dispersing other cancer-causing substances within the mouth and throat," Consumer Reports said.

Subsequent research, however, found no connection between the two. This means mouthwashes are safe.

“During the past 25 years, nine epidemiologic studies have been conducted of the relationship between alcohol-containing mouthwash (ACM) use and the risk of developing oral cancer. While two of these studies include some positive findings, the weight of the evidence strongly suggests that use of ACM does not increase the risk of cancer. Practicing dentists may recommend to their patients that they use the mouthwashes of their choice, including those that contain alcohol,” said Drs. Philip Cole, Brad Rodu and Annette Mathisen in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Although alcohol does cause oral cancer, the NCI said there is more harm in drinking it than using it as a mouthwash ingredient. For those who are concerned about taste, use a mouthwash with low alcohol content. In choosing a particular brand, let your mouth be the judge. If the product leaves a burning sensation, switch to another brand.

In closing, how then do you stop bad breath? The solution lies in treating the cause of this condition. A visit to the dentist can correct whatever oral problems you have. Smokers have to kick the habit while alcohol users must abstain from their favorite drink.

Garlic and onion lovers should seek solace elsewhere while lung disease and other serious disorders should be treated by a reliable doctor. Only by doing so can you escape from the bad smell that haunts you everywhere.

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Author's Bio: 

Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine