Quality CareFind out why Mayo Clinic is the right place for your health care. Make an appointment.
Meet the StaffFind a directory of doctors and departments at all Mayo Clinic campuses. Visit now.
Research and Clinical TrialsSee how Mayo Clinic research and clinical trials advance the science of medicine and improve patient care. Explore now.
Visit Our SchoolsEducators at Mayo Clinic train tomorrow’s leaders to deliver compassionate, high-value, safe patient care. Choose a degree.
Professional ServicesExplore Mayo Clinic’s many resources and see jobs available for medical professionals. Get updates.
Philanthropy at Mayo ClinicYour support accelerates powerful innovations in patient care, research and education. Give today.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to Housecall
Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.
Magic mouthwash is the term given to a solution used to treat mouth sores (oral mucositis) caused by some forms of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Oral mucositis can be extremely painful and can result in an inability to eat, speak or swallow. Magic mouthwash may provide some relief, but it's unclear how effective it is. That's because of the lack of standardization in the formulations of mouthwash, and poorly designed studies done to gather data.
There are several versions of magic mouthwash. Some are available in pre-measured kits that can be mixed together by pharmacists, while others are prepared to order by a pharmacist. If it's determined that magic mouthwash might be helpful, your doctor will write a prescription.
Magic mouthwash usually contains at least three of these basic ingredients:
Most formulations of magic mouthwash are intended to be used every four to six hours, and to be held in your mouth for one to two minutes before being either spit out or swallowed. It's recommended that you don't eat or drink for 30 minutes after using magic mouthwash so that the medicine has time to produce an effect.
Side effects of magic mouthwash may include problems with taste, a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth, drowsiness, constipation, diarrhea, and nausea.
In addition to magic mouthwash, medications and other treatments may help relieve your discomfort. For example, researchers found that an anti-inflammatory mouthwash helps reduce the risk of mouth sores in people taking the targeted therapy drug everolimus (Afinitor).
Talk with your doctor about your specific cancer treatments and which solutions for coping with mouth sores might be best for you.
Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.
Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization and proceeds from Web advertising help support our mission. Mayo Clinic does not endorse any of the third party products and services advertised.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.