If you have ever put Listerine, or maybe another mouthwash into your mouth, you may notice a ‘burning’ sensation. There are some people who will tell you that this burning sensation means that the Listerine is working. It isn’t. In fact, this burning sensation means that you are probably doing some damage to your mouth. On this page, we want to answer the question ‘why does Listerine burn?‘, and then provide you with a few alternatives that you can use to Listerine.

What The Heck Is In Listerine?

Let’s start off with the simple question, before we start diving into a few of the other issues with mouthwash.

Listerine burns because it is laden with chemicals. This includes:

  • Menthol
  • Thymol
  • Eucalyptol
  • Methyl salicylate

All of these are skin irritants. When they touch the skin, they will send the nerve endings into overdrive. Your gums and the side of your mouth are some of the most sensitive areas of skin in your body, so the burning sensation is going to be heightened when the Listerine comes into contact with it. If you have particularly sensitive skin, then you may find that the burning sensation will continue to be there long after you have finished swirling that mouthwash around your mouth.

Don’t forget; these are chemicals. They shouldn’t really be in your mouth in the first place. As a result, some of the chemicals are going to get absorbed by the gums and the other areas of your mouth. There is potential to cause damage to your nerve endings. They will damage your skin. Honestly, it is not a pleasurable experience in the slightest. Some people with extremely sensitive skin have ended up with long term damage when they have used mouthwash products like Listerine. You probably do not want to fall into the same trap, right?

Why Does Listerine Burn If Ethanol Has Been Reduced?

In recent years, the amount of ethanol in Listerine mouthwash has been reduced. This is because ethanol was suspected of increasing the risk of oral cancer. The problem is that part of the job of the ethanol was to provide an even better clean. By removing it, you aren’t able to kill all of the bacteria in your mouth. The ingredients that are left behind will often be just absorbed into the gums and don’t really do anything (it is this absorption which contributes towards the burning sensation). You are basically swishing chemicals around your mouth for a bit of minty breath…something which you can easily get with with a quality toothpaste in combination with an electric toothbrush.

Even Alcohol-Free Mouthwash May Burn

Many people seem to believe that it is the alcohol in Listerine which causes the ‘burn’. However, this isn’t really the case. We bet that a lot of the people looking for ‘why does Listerine burn’ have the alcohol-free version. While the alcohol will add to the burning sensation, even if you take that away, there will be ingredients kicking around in the Listerine which still cause burning. Not as much. But it is still going to burn. Remember what we said earlier? The burning does not mean it is cleaning your mouth. The burning means that you are putting chemicals into your mouth which probably shouldn’t be there.

I Understand Why Does Listerine Burn, But What Are My Alternatives?

Since you are wondering ‘why does Listerine burn?’, it is likely that you are on the hunt for some alternatives. Now, we are not going to suggest that you forgo mouthwash completely. You still need mouthwash, albeit a slightly cheaper one (and one that is not laden with chemicals like Listerine!). However, picking up something like a Braun electric toothbrush could alleviate the need for . This combination will manage to do most of what a mouthwash can do…and a little bit more. They will help to eliminate plaque and bacteria, leaving you with a nice, fresh mouth. The way these products are designed often means that they will be able to reach areas where your standard floss, toothbrush, and mouthwash wouldn’t be able to reach. This means that you will end up with a fresher, cleaner mouth.

So obviously, taking care of your oral health is important to you. Our most highly recommended way to make the job easy and effective is by choosing our of our best Waterpik tools. If you were to replace your mouthwash with just a travel Waterpik for example, we can promise you that you won’t be asking ‘why does Listerine burn’ ever again.