What is Magic Mouthwash and how it works

Miracle Mouthwash is a mouthwash commonly prescribed to people with mouth ulcers (oral mucositis) caused by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and some targeted therapies. It is also used for thrush and sore mouth caused by certain infections. Mouthwashes come in a variety of formulations, with different names, and can be used by both adults and children.

other names

Miracle Mouthwash

Mary’s Magic Mouthwash

Duke Mouthwash


Oral mucositis typical of oral ulcers is characterized by erythema, swelling, or ulceration in the mouth. Miracle Mouthwash is used to relieve pain caused by these symptoms, which often develop as a result of cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

In some cases, mouth sores from chemotherapy can be so painful that they can cause problems eating, swallowing, and speaking.Secondary bacterial or fungal infections sometimes occur.

Most worryingly, weight loss may occur when mouth ulcers make eating painful. Cancer cachexia, a syndrome involving decreased appetite, weight loss, and muscle loss, is thought to be the direct cause of death in 20% of cancer patients. Because cachexia is not easily treatable, it is critical to prevent weight loss by managing any problems that interfere with your diet.

Most common chemotherapy side effects

Magic Mouthwash Ingredients

There are several different magic mouthwash products with different formulas.

Common miracle mouthwash ingredients include:

  • Local anesthetics (such as viscous lidocaine): Anesthetics can numb the mouth and reduce pain.
  • Corticosteroids: Steroids can reduce inflammation, which can reduce redness and swelling.
  • Antihistamines/anticholinergics (such as Benadryl): Antihistamines can reduce swelling.
  • Antibiotics (such as tetracycline): Some preparations contain added antibiotics to reduce the chance of secondary bacterial infection.
  • Antifungal agents (such as nystatin): Antifungal agents can be added to reduce the chance of a secondary fungal infection (thrush).
  • Antacids (such as magnesium hydroxide/aluminum hydroxide): Several different types of antacids can be added to coat the mouth and throat.
  • Mucosal protectants (such as sucralfate): These drugs provide a barrier to protect potential mouth ulcers from irritation from substances in the mouth.
  • Flavoring: Some preparations add flavoring to improve taste.

Can You Make Your Own Magical Mouthwash?

You can make your own mouthwashes with common kitchen ingredients, but these are not the same medical formula as most magic mouthwashes.

Miracle mouthwashes usually contain at least one (often more) ingredients, require a pharmacist to prepare and require a doctor’s prescription to obtain.

how to use

Here are the steps to use Magic Mouthwash correctly:

  1. Pour the prescribed dose of mouthwash into a sterile spoon or measuring cup.
  2. Put the liquid in your mouth and gargle for a minute or two.
  3. Spit out the mouthwash. Swallowing it can cause side effects, such as an upset stomach.
  4. Avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 30 minutes after using Magic Mouthwash.

Since there are so many different formulations, be sure to ask your pharmacist how to use yours properly.

Dosage and Frequency

For most preparations, the instructions say to put 2 teaspoons of the solution in your mouth, then shake or hold for about two minutes. Then you will spit out the mouthwash.

This process repeats every four to six hours.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

As of 2021, prices for an 8-ounce bottle of Magic Mouthwash range from $35 to $65. Your insurance may or may not cover it, so be sure to call your provider.


There is currently debate about the actual benefits of Magic Mouthwash, and variations in formulation make it difficult to study. Some health experts advise against its use, saying there isn’t enough evidence to suggest it’s more effective than a salt or baking soda rinse.

That said, anecdotal reports from doctors and patients prove that certain formulas have at least some benefit in reducing pain, so miracle mouthwashes are often prescribed.

Ask your oncologist for advice on Magic Mouthwash. Since mouth ulcers are common, they may have experienced what helped and what didn’t, and they will be able to guide you based on what has worked for other patients.


The risks of a miracle mouthwash depend on the ingredients in the formula.

Formulas containing local anesthetics may mask symptoms that would normally remind you to call your healthcare provider. This numbing effect may also make you more likely to bite the inside of your mouth while eating, or even choke.

Medications such as antihistamines, antibiotics, and antacids also carry potential risks.

side effect

Side effects may vary by formula.

Local side effects may include:

  • Allergic Reaction: It is possible to have an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients.
  • Tingling or burning in the mouth: The burning is usually temporary, lasting only a few minutes.
  • Taste changes: This may exacerbate the taste changes caused by certain drugs in chemotherapy.
  • dry mouth

Some side effects can be difficult to distinguish from allergic reactions, and it can be difficult to tell which ingredient is causing the reaction.

Systemic (systemic) side effects may include:

  • drowsiness
  • rash
  • diarrhea
  • constipate
  • nausea and vomiting
  • Sun sensitivity, which can also aggravate sun sensitivity caused by chemotherapy drugs or radiation therapy

Other treatments for mouth ulcers

For mild mouth sores, a homemade mouthwash, such as a baking soda mixture, may Reduce the risk of developing secondary infections.

Other treatments that have been shown to help include:

  • Morphine mouthwash: Some studies have found that topical morphine mouthwash is better than magic mouthwash for treating mouth ulcers in cancer patients.
  • Cryotherapy: Several studies have found cryotherapy (ice) to be beneficial, especially for more severe canker sores.
  • Palifermin: Palifermin is a synthetic version of keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), a molecule that promotes the healing of mouth ulcers. Palifermin is currently approved to treat mouth ulcers in people with blood cancers.
  • Low-level laser therapy: Low-level laser therapy has been shown to reduce pain caused by oral mucositis and, in some cases, work faster than others.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does the magic mouthwash last?

    Miracle Mouthwash should be good for about 12 months after opening, but not all formulas work. Ask your pharmacist for details on the formulation you are using.

  • Where can I buy the magic mouthwash?

    Miracle mouthwash requires a doctor’s prescription and must be prepared by a pharmacist.

  • What happens if you swallow the magic mouthwash?

    There’s no danger in accidentally swallowing the magic mouthwash, but it’s best to spit it out because swallowing it can cause an upset stomach.

  • Will thrush go away on its own?

    Thrush is a fungal infection in the mouth that usually goes away on its own. However, healthcare providers may prescribe an antifungal magic mouthwash formula when other treatments are unsuccessful.

  • Does Magic Mouthwash need to be refrigerated?

    Magic mouthwash usually doesn’t need to be refrigerated unless your specific product says otherwise.