Q&A With Dr Emma
Hi Dr Emma, I am two and a half months pregnant and I have a throat infection. Is it safe to use Colgate Fresh Tea mouthwash? Thanks. Pavithra, India
I'd actually never come across this mouthwash before your question! That might seem weird for a dentist, but it's interesting to note that most dental product companies have two ranges: a "professional" range, which is marketed to the dental industry, and a "consumer" range, which is sold in supermarkets and pharmacies.
As a general rule, it's mainly the professional range which has the products which have been the most thoroughly tested and proven to work. The consumer range is more based on what people like to buy, rather than the science behind the product.
The mouthwash you're asking about is part of the Plax range, which has cetyl pyridinium chloride as the active ingredient. This is a chemical which helps to kill germs. The evidence shows that cetyl pyridinium chloride has been used by a large number of pregnant women in the past, with no apparent bad effects on the unborn foetus.
As with all health care products, it's important to follow the instructions. Twice a day, gargle with 20ml, (about half a cap full), for a minimum of 30 seconds, then spit it out. Don't swallow it.
It's been well advertised that there is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. While you're likely to only absorb a very small amount from gargling with a mouthwash, (not swallowing it!), it's good to note that this particular mouthwash is alcohol free.
I can see no harm in using Colgate Plax Fresh Tea mouthwash as directed while you are pregnant, but please go and see your doctor if you feel unwell or your sore throat lasts longer than usual.
I've also written a blog on 'Mouthwash and Pregnancy' which you might like to read too. Get well soon!