A cup of mouthwash

Magic Mouthwash: A Solution for Mouth Sores?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

People going through cancer treatment can experience some uncomfortable side effects, including mucositis caused by chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Magic mouthwash is only one of several treatments that may help alleviate the pain from mouth sores, dry mouth, and inflammation caused by mucositis. Learn more about magic mouthwash and how it may benefit those dealing with mucositis.

Cancer Treatment and Mouth Sores

Chemotherapy and radiation treatments kill cancer cells, but the treatments can lead to uncomfortable or painful side effects in the mouth and throat, such as oral mucositis. "Magic mouthwash" is the term for an analgesic mouthrinse designed to help relieve the pain of mucositis symptoms. Oral mucositis symptoms include dry mouth, swollen and inflamed gums, difficulty swallowing, and mouth sores.

Do You Need a Prescription for Magic Mouthwash?

This special mouthrinse needs a prescription from your primary care physician, your oncologist, or your dentist. The pharmacist will create the mouthrinse from a premeasured kit or the instructions from the prescriber.

What Is in Magic Mouthwash?

There is no definitive recipe for this special mouthrinse. The mouthrinse usually contains three or more of the following ingredients:

  • Antibiotics
  • Local anesthetic
  • Antihistamine
  • Antifungal
  • Corticosteroid
  • A coating agent, like a liquid antacid

These ingredients work together to help reduce the risk of infections, relieve pain, and reduce swelling inside the mouth. The physician and pharmacist will choose which and how much of the ingredients to use depending on the severity of the mucositis and your symptoms.

Using Magic Mouthrinse

Because they are customized for your needs, your special mouthrinse should not be shared with other members of your family, even if they have similar symptoms. Follow the directions on the bottle. Typically you will hold the mouthrinse in your mouth for up to two minutes. Don't eat or drink after using the mouthrinse for at least 30 minutes.

Does Magic Mouthwash Work?

It is common for physicians to prescribe this therapeutic mouthrinse for patients with mucositis. The effectiveness of the rinse depends upon its ingredients and the severity of your symptoms. Be sure to let your physician or dentist know if the mouthrinse is not relieving your oral pain so that you can be re-evaluated.

Alternative Mouth Sore Treatments

Mucositis can make eating and drinking painful, especially if you have mouth sores. Thankfully, there are many treatments to relieve pain and help promote healing. You can use over-the-counter acetaminophen, ice chips or talk with your physician and dentist about prescription pain medications.

Magic mouthwash is a commonly prescribed treatment for mouth sores caused by mucositis, and it may help ease the pain in your mouth and reduce your risk of infection. Talk with your healthcare team to see if magic mouthwash is right for you.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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