While pregnant, no known quantity of alcohol is considered safe for the baby, therefore many obstetricians recommend that pregnant women avoid alcohol completely as soon as they know they are pregnant. According to the American Pregnancy Association, alcohol affects human development and can cause irreparable cognitive, physical, and neurological birth defects. Since many mouthwashes are alcohol based, it is best not to use them during pregnancy. Alternatives include alcohol-free mouthwashes and mouthwashes made of natural ingredients.
Seek clearance from your ob-gyn, doctor or health care practitioner before you begin using mouthwash. Your physician may have some suggestions as to what mouthwash will be safest for you and your baby.
Replace your alcohol-based mouthwash with an alcohol-free mouthwash. Some suggestions include Oral B Alcohol Free Mouth Rinse or Crest Pro Health Rinse.
Opt for a natural mouthwash, if you prefer. One suggestion is Tom's of Maine Cleansing Mouthwash, which is alcohol free and contains ingredients such as aloe vera and witch hazel.
Avoid panic if you have been using mouthwash with alcohol. Alcohol needs to be consumed to cause harm to the baby, therefore since mouthwash is rarely swallowed, the likelihood of fetal damage is small.
A 2009 animal study conducted by Australian researchers from the Hanson Institute found that zinc supplementation was able to overcome fetal abnormalities in mice as a result of exposure to alcohol. The findings were published in the April 2009 issue of the journal “Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.” Speak to your ob-gyn, doctor or health care practitioner about zinc supplementation if you are concerned about your baby as a result of exposure to alcohol based mouthwash.
According to the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School, eucalyptus oil represents a known toxin that should be avoided by pregnant women and babies alike. If you opt to replace your alcohol-based mouthwash with a natural mouthwash, read the label carefully before you purchase it. If the product contains eucalyptus oil, avoid it.