Don't Use Mouthwash If You're Taking These Antibiotics

Doctors have long told patients to avoid drinking alcohol with certain medications. But what you may not have considered is if using mouthwash while on certain medications is safe.

Why is mouthwash a potential issue, you ask? Mouthwashes — and even some cold medications — contain alcohol, meaning you would want to check labels and steer clear of those products, too (via Mayo Clinic).

The interaction of alcohol, including mouthwash, and some antibiotics is particularly strong. Avoid any type of alcohol when using metronidazole (Flagyl) for bacterial or parasitic infections in the brain, liver, stomach or vagina (via Insider). Others to avoid include tinidazole (Tindamax) which is used for infection treatment in the intestines and vagina, and cefotetan (Cefotan) which is used for bacterial infections in the bones, lungs, and skin. 

Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim) and linezolid (Zyvox) are other antibiotics that interact with alcohol and should be avoided. Linezolid can cause a harmful increase in your blood pressure. 

What can happen if you use mouthwash when on these medications?

But the majority of the reactions to mixing alcohol with these medications include flushing, headache, nausea, rapid heart rate, and vomiting. Those side effects should subside in a few hours, but if they do not and you are experiencing a severe reaction, you should seek immediate medical attention, according to Insider.

Experts say modest intake of alcohol won't make your antibiotics ineffective, but it can delay your recovery and affect your energy level, according to Mayo Clinic. Some side effects may be stronger than others with specific medications, and even if you don't experience any, it is best to avoid alcohol in general.

So be sure to check your mouthwash label before using if you are taking specific medications, and avoid using until the antibiotic has cleared your system, which is usually three days after your last dose. If you have any questions about medications and mouthwash, you should seek advice from your doctor.