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Is It Safe to Use Mouthwash during Pregnancy?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The use of mouthwash during pregnancy is generally considered safe, as long as certain precautions are taken. Most doctors are only concerned about the use of mouthwash containing alcohol. There are various alternative products on the market which can typically be used without worry. Women who have recently become pregnancy should discuss any products they are currently using with their doctors for further instructions.

Whether or not using mouthwash while pregnant is harmful to a developing baby depends widely on the ingredients contained in a particular mouthwash. Many varieties contain alcohol, which can hinder fetal brain development. The exact amount of alcohol required to do any real damage is not known, so most doctors say to avoid it altogether. Although alcohol containing mouthwash isn't meant to be swallowed, some women may have problems spitting it all out without consuming a very small amount. While this probably isn't enough to harm a developing baby, it is still recommended by some doctors that anything containing alcohol be avoided during pregnancy.

There are several mouthwash options available which do not contain alcohol. For women who want to use a daily oral rinse, these are probably a safer alternative. All ingredients should be read thoroughly to determine if a particular brand contains alcohol. Even better, women should discuss particular brands and types with their doctors before using any particular mouthwash during pregnancy. Most doctors or dentists should be able to give a recommendation.

Aside from mainstream mouthwash, there are also many all-natural products on the market. These may also be good alternatives to commercial mouthwash during pregnancy. All ingredients should still be checked, however, since some herbs are not safe during pregnancy. For instance, some mouthwashes contain eucalyptus oil. This has been shown to be dangerous for pregnancy women and their developing babies. Those who choose to go with something all natural should have each ingredient approved by their health care providers.

Whether or not a woman chooses to use mouthwash during pregnancy is a personal choice. Mouthwash is not necessarily needed for good oral health, although it can help kill germs and bacteria found in the mouth. In any event, pregnant women should spend extra time caring for their oral health because the gums are particularly vulnerable during this time. Many women report bleeding gums and mouth soreness during pregnancy. This could make them more susceptible to infection if not properly cared for.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon927372 — On Jan 24, 2014

Listerine mouthwash is safe during the pregnancy. It is FDA and IDA approved.

By backdraft — On Jan 07, 2013

I have noticed since I got pregnant that I have a funny taste in my mouth almost constantly. I have been using a lot of mouthwash to get rid of it, but it doesn't seem to be working very well. Has anyone else experienced this? What did you do to get rid of it?

By tigers88 — On Jan 06, 2013
I am so glad that I read this article. I am three months pregnant and I had not even thought about the alcohol in my mouthwash. I checked the label, and it had some in it.

Now, I rarely use mouthwash, so I am not too worried about the mouthwash that I have used thus far and the little bit of alcohol that I may have consumed. But you can be sure that I am going to switch to an alcohol-free mouthwash now.

By stoneMason — On Jan 06, 2013

Alcohol-free mouthwash is absolutely safe. I used it throughout my pregnancy.

I was experiencing bleeding gums during my pregnancy and asked my dentist about mouthwash. He said I can use it and recommended an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash for me.

It was a bit more expensive than regular mouthwash but I felt good knowing that I wouldn't get an infection from my gums bleeding or harm my baby.

By ysmina — On Jan 05, 2013

@turkay1-- I don't think it's any more dangerous than regular mouthwash. I think whitening mouthwashes contain peroxide, so it's probably a good idea not to use it everyday. But at the same time, you're not swallowing it, so why should it be a problem?

I still think most moms are extra cautious and will avoid it during pregnancy though.

By candyquilt — On Jan 04, 2013

Is whitening mouthwash dangerous during pregnancy?

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