What happens if you swallow mouthwash

What happens if you swallow mouthwash?

When it comes to reviving stale or bad breath, mouthwash is a really helpful invention. But it can serve a greater purpose than that. It can help improve the condition of your teeth and gums by eradicating dangerous germs that can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

You shouldn’t ingest mouthwash because it includes chemicals that destroy microorganisms. It isn’t meant to be drunk. In fact, it can be harmful in sufficient amounts. Because of this, it’s crucial to understand what’s in the mouthwash container and what to do if someone inadvertently (or purposefully) swallows some.

Continue reading to find out what happens if you swallow mouthwash and what you should do next. Make sure to read to the end.

What happens if you swallow mouthwash?

You might feel a little uncomfortable in the form of a little stomach ache after mistakenly swallowing that mouthful of mouthwash. Fluoride, which has been known to cause some gastrointestinal irritation, is a common ingredient in mouthwash. It’s possible that you’ll feel sick to your stomach or nauseous, but it should pass quickly.

Many types of mouthwash contain ingredients besides fluoride. Many also include alcohol in them. Mouthwash frequently contains various forms of alcohol, including ethanol, menthol, eucalyptol, benzoic acid, methyl salicylate, and thymol. A tiny amount won’t likely have any effect on you, but a higher amount might make you feel drunk.

An excessive dose of mouthwash may result in symptoms like tiredness or dizziness. In extreme cases, you can experience breathing difficulties or even convulsions. With children, it’s especially crucial to use caution. Due to the diminutive size of their bodies, they are far more likely to overdose.

If you suffer any of these symptoms persistently or you swallow large amounts of mouthwash, then you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible.

What happens when children swallow mouthwash?

Children are more likely to drink mouthwash. Since their bodies are smaller, a significantly lower amount of mouthwash could be lethal. If kids choose to use mouthwash, be sure to watch them and supervise them to prevent any mishaps. Call the poison control center right away if you ever find yourself in a scenario like this.

What happens when an adult swallows mouthwash?

Adults require a far higher dosage of mouthwash than toddlers do for serious symptoms to manifest. It is best to watch yourself first in case you accidentally swallow mouthwash. A word of advice: under no circumstances should you attempt to induce vomiting. If you have a rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath, call for assistance.

What medical procedures might be required?

Before prescribing any necessary treatments if you go to the emergency room, they might want to run some tests.

  • using activated charcoal to absorb chemicals
  • laxatives
  • breathing assistance
  • People have needed renal dialysis in some very dire circumstances.
  • intravenous (IV) fluids
  • medications

What are a few at-home remedies for ingesting mouthwash?

Generally, ingesting mouthwash won’t be a major deal if you swallow a small amount of mouthwash. If you consume more than a little amount, it’s still a good idea to consult a doctor or a poison control specialist. They could advise you to keep an eye out for any unexpected symptoms.

Avoid taking any medications or items like ipecac that cause vomiting if you’ve just consumed mouthwash. Give them nothing that will cause them to vomit if a child has ingested mouthwash.

How to prevent swallowing of mouthwash?

It’s critical to understand safe mouthwash usage. Here are some preventative measures that could be useful to you:

  • Keep mouthwash (and any other alcohol-containing items) away from your kid. Instead of leaving it on the bathroom counter, put it on a high shelf or secured cabinet.
  • Avoid alcohol. In addition to Orajel, ACT, and Crest, Listerine now produces a number of types of alcohol-free mouthwash, including a line specifically for kids called Smart Rinse Kids.
  • Before you purchase mouthwash, examine the packaging.
  • Save the mouthwash for your child’s later years. Children under the age of six should not use mouthwash, according to the American Dental Association, as they could accidentally ingest it.
  • When letting your kid use mouthwash, watch them closely. To prevent them from inadvertently swallowing the mouthwash while attempting to reach the sink, make sure they can easily spit it out into the sink.

You may also be interested in:

Why is it not recommended to drink mouthwash?

Mouthwashes include modified alcohol that gives them an unpleasant taste. Nevertheless, a lot of people try ingesting it to get high. They are unaware that it can negatively affect the body’s acid-base balance. Among the complications are:

  • Organ failure
  • Coma
  • absence of vision
  • alcohol toxicity
  • Heart arrest (cardiac arrest)
  • Respiratory arrest

Mouthwash: Is it fatal?

Ingestion of mouthwash by children results in death frequently. There is a link between ethanol content and toxicity. Up to 27% of ethanol can be found in some mouthwashes. Adult deaths are rare, although they can happen if someone purposefully swallows them.

What components in mouthwash should you avoid?

The American Dental Association lists a few of the most popular active components in what they refer to as “therapeutic mouthwash.” Among the mouthwashes made to eliminate the germs that can cause tooth decay are:

  • fluoride
  • peroxide
  • essential oils
  • cetylpyridinium chloride
  • chlorhexidine

While those substances may be excellent for your teeth, gums, and breath, ingesting them could be bad for the rest of your body.

Chlorhexidine gluconate, ethanol (ethyl alcohol), hydrogen peroxide, and methyl salicylate are frequently the mouthwash components that are most dangerous when ingested.

Mouthwashes intended for children aren’t even meant to be ingested. They might not have ethanol or other forms of alcohol, but they might still have fluoride and other things that could make them queasy.


What counts most is how much mouthwash is ingested. You generally won’t experience any issues if you swallow a small amount of mouthwash, especially if you don’t make it a habit. However, taking a large swallow of mouthwash could have some negative effects. Be careful not to spit out your mouthwash into the sink after using it.

To keep your mouth healthy and prevent cavities, don’t rely entirely on mouthwash. Continue to brush and floss frequently, and schedule regular appointments at the dentist.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for enochkabange.com and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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