How Does Mouthwash Kill Bacteria?

Updated April 17, 2017

There are quite a few types of mouthwash on the market, and many of them contain alcohol. Alcohol has a reputation for killing bacteria; it does so by penetrating the cell walls of bacteria and rending them inactive.

Mouthwash Sans Alcohol

Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) is typically the active ingredient in mouthwash that does not contain alcohol. This acts in the same way that alcohol does. It dissolves the membrane around the cells that make up bacteria.

The Battle Between Mouthwash and Bacteria

The beauty of mouthwash is that it can reach into the tiny crevices and spaces in between teeth. Those are the places that harbour bacteria because your toothbrush cannot always clean those areas.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Samantha Herman earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northern Arizona University in 2005. Her professional writing career started in 2008, when she accepted an internship at "Willamette Week," a local alternative publication. Upon completing her internship, she became employed as a copywriter for an internet media company. In addition to copywriting, she has written articles for PDX Pipeline and eHow.