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Beware of Your Mouthwash

Posted Nov 17 2008 9:11pm

If you've looked at the mouthwash section of the grocery store lately, you will notice that Crest has changed directions with their mouthwash line.  For years, Crest's main product was Scope, which contains 15% alcohol.  Now their new product is Crest Pro-Health, which is alcohol-free.  I mentioned Crest Pro-Health before when my dentist recommended it.

When I looked at the grocery store today, Pro-Health dominated Crest's shelf space.  In fact, there were only a few bottles of Scope available, and they were up on the top shelf.  So why has Crest made such a dramatic change?  Most likely, it is due to the link between alcohol and oral cancer, which I've mentioned previously.

Think about it: if just drinking alcohol increases your risk for oral cancer, what will swishing an alcohol-based substance in your mouth once or twice a day due to the risk?  Many people use mouthwash for 15 to 30 seconds, and this increases the time that alcohol is in contact with the oral mucosa.  The research on all this is not definitive, but some studies suggest that alcohol-containing mouthwashes can increase the risk of oral cancer.

This makes Listerine look suspect in my eyes.  Listerine contains 20-25% alcohol depending on the type.  However, Listerine does contain some beneficial essential oils, which Crest Pro-Health does not.  Hence, I have been searching for the best of both worlds, an alcohol-free mouthwash that contains essential oils.  Currently, I am trying some alternative mouthwashes and will hopefully find one that fits the bill.

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