Help Me Choose a Mouthwash!

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Dear Dr. McPherson,

Every time I go to the drug store to buy toothpaste I am bombarded with options for mouthwash. I’ve never really used mouthwash as a regular part of my dental routine. Should I start? If so, how do I know which mouthwash is best?

This is a great question! Unless otherwise specified by your dentist, mouthwash is not a necessary component of a regular dental hygiene routine. Yet, many people still opt to use mouthwash on occasion – especially following an odorous Italian meal full of garlic and onions! Mouthwash can definitely help freshen breath, and it is also a great way to flush out bacteria inside the mouth to prevent cavities and decay. However, it is essential to look at the ingredients in the mouthwash options available. Basically, what you want to look at is the alcohol content. While you may have a preference for the flavor, mouthwash can be categorized as Alcohol-based or Alcohol-free.

Most dentists will recommend that patients chose an alcohol-free mouthwash option. Alcohol is a very powerful substance, and it can threaten your oral health. What many people fail to remember is that the entire mouth is made up of living tissues. The gums, cheeks, tongue, and teeth are all living tissues that can be negatively affected by harmful ingredients.

If you have ever challenged yourself to rinse your mouth with an alcohol-based mouthwash for a full 60 seconds, you have experienced the intense burning sensation. This burning sensation may make you feel that you’ve cleaned your mouth, but it should also make you wonder why it burns so badly. The answer is that alcohol-based mouthwash contains potent chemicals. Allowing an alcohol-based substance to linger on living tissues can erode their surfaces. It has been shown that alcohol-based mouthwash is such a strong substance that it can contribute to ulcers and damage dental fillings.

It is also vital for children, patients undergoing chemotherapy, and those with diabetes stay away from alcohol-based mouthwash. It is not a safe substance for people in these categories.

If you are looking to incorporate mouthwash into your dental care routine or you want to use it occasionally, contact Peninsula Dentistry today for recommendations.

Posted on behalf of Peninsula Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

538 Savannah Hwy
Charleston, SC 29407

Phone: (843) 507-5481

FAX: (843) 577-4653


Monday - Thursday 8am - 5pm
Lunch break: 1pm - 2pm

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Absolutely phenomenal dental office. Not only are the dentists outstanding at their craft but, like every person in the office, they are incredibly friendly and genuine. And that is so important. I earnestly recommend Peninsula if you are looking for the highest quality care, expertise and, equally important, quality people. I would give them 10 stars if I could.
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The BEST dentist. Megan the hygienist is always so professional and thorough! Every time I have a visit here the staff from the front desk to back are always so efficient and courteous. Dr. McPherson is an amazing dentist and always takes time to explain everything in a way that makes sense. I will only go to Peninsula for all my dental needs!
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Meet Our Doctors

Dr. James B. Wisner

Dr. James B. Wisner was raised in Charleston and attended Porter-Gaud High School. He graduated from The Honors College at The University of South Carolina in 1996 and received his D.M.D. degree in 2002 from the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Wisner served in Las Vegas, Nevada and Spangdahlem, Germany as a Captain in the United States Air Force for three years where he completed an AEGD residency and was certified in Intravenous Conscious Sedation.

Dr. Caitlin McPherson

Dr. Caitlin McPherson was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. A graduate of Porter Gaud High School, she went on to receive her Bachelors of Science from Clemson University’s Calhoun Honors College. Dr. McPherson earned her Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Dental Medicine. She is an active member of The American Dental Association and The Academy of General Dentistry.

Dr. McPherson performs all aspects of general dentistry and is Invisalign certified. Dr. McPherson especially enjoys treating pediatric patients.


538 Savannah Hwy
Charleston, SC 29407

Phone (843) 507-5481
Fax (843) 577-4653

Opening Hours

Monday - Thursday 8am - 5pm
Lunch break: 1pm - 2pm

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