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.

Despite all of this, you shouldn’t consume mouthwash.

It’s not meant to be consumed; in fact, consuming enough of it can be toxic.

Because of this, it’s critical to understand what’s in the mouthwash bottle in your medicine cabinet and what to do if someone injures themselves accidentally (or on purpose) by ingesting any.



✅ What truly counts 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.

✅ Depending on your child’s age, you might want to skip the mouthwash entirely and only focus on brushing and flossing if they are younger than 6 or can’t yet spit.


What effects does ingesting mouthwash have?

Let’s assume that you use mouthwash with caution as is customary. You give it the proper amount of time to swirl in your mouth. Even if the taste or sensation could make you cringe, you persevere for the sake of your mouth’s well-being.

You might feel a little guilty after mistakenly swallowing that mouthful of mouthwash in the form of a little stomach ache. 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 fast.

Many types of mouthwash also contain alcohol, so they don’t just contain fluoride. Among the most popular types of alcohol found in mouthwash is:

  • ethanol
  • menthol
  • eucalyptol
  • benzoic acid
  • methyl salicylate
  • 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.


When should you visit a physician?

If a young toddler ingested mouthwash

Call the Poison Control Center’s toll-free hotline at 800-222-1222 as soon as you realize your child has ingested mouthwash. Be prepared to specify the type and quantity of mouthwash that your youngster ingested.

If the child is suffering any symptoms at this time, you’ll probably need to describe them to the hotline operator. The operator may also ask you for the child’s age and weight.

If a grownup ingests mouthwash

You might be able to take a wait-and-see strategy if you or another adult accidentally swallow a little amount of mouthwash. One important thing to keep in mind is not to force yourself to throw up. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room if you experience any severe symptoms, such as convulsions, a rapid heartbeat, or breathing difficulties.

Do not become alarmed if you unintentionally consume a small amount. If it’s only a small bit, you’ll probably be fine, or your stomach might get a little upset for a brief length of time. Ask your doctor if it will help to reassure you when you call. A bigger quantity should necessitate contacting your physician or the Poison Control hotline. If you are told to go to the hospital, do so immediately. Your chances of recovering are increased the sooner you receive therapy.


What medical procedures might be required?

Before prescribing any essential remedies if you go to the emergency room, they might want to do certain tests. Activated charcoal for chemical absorption, medicines, intravenous (IV) fluids, laxatives, and respiratory assistance are a few possible therapies for mouthwash overdose. People have needed renal dialysis in some very dire circumstances.


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

Again, it generally 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 can you stop mouthwash ingestion in yourself or others?

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

  • Before purchasing mouthwash, examine the packaging. A regulation requiring child-resistant packaging for mouthwashes with at least 3 grams (0.11 ounces) of ethanol per package was developed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1995. Purchase a bottle with this kind of packaging so that your youngster can’t simply open the contents.
  • Keep mouthwash (and any other alcohol-containing items) away from your youngster. Instead of leaving it on the bathroom counter, put it on a high shelf or secured cabinet.
  • Avoid drinking. 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.
  • Wait till your child is older before using mouthwash. Children under the age of six should not use mouthwash, according to the American Dental Association, as they could accidentally ingest it.
  • Keep a close eye on your youngster as they use mouthwash. 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.


The possibility of ingesting alcohol through mouthwash is one of the main issues with doing so. Any alcohol-containing product in your home, including mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and other items, should be avoided if you have kids because they can all lead to intoxication or poisoning. For example, ethanol can be dangerous even at very modest doses for children, who are typically more susceptible to it. They may have a variety of consequences, including hypoglycemia.

If you consume a substantial amount of fluoride in your mouthwash, it could cause stomach discomfort. Large doses of fluoride gels can also result in symptoms including discomfort, nauseousness, or vomiting. In rare instances, too much fluoride can cause harmful issues like decreased calcium levels in the body.


What components in mouthwash should you avoid?

The American Dental Association lists the following as some of the most popular active components in “therapeutic mouthwash,” or mouthwash made to kill bacteria that can cause tooth decay:

  • Cetylpyridinium chloride, an antimicrobial agent
  • • Chlorhexidine, another antimicrobial or antibacterial agent;
  • Essential oils, like menthol or eucalyptus, which may help lessen plaque and gingivitis.
  • Fluoride is a preventative agent for tooth decay.
  • peroxide, which is frequently added to mouthwashes and made to aid in tooth whitening.


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 typically the mouthwash components that are most dangerous to consume.

Even mouthwashes made for children shouldn’t be consumed whole. They might not include ethanol or other forms of alcohol, but they might still contain fluoride and other things that might make their stomachs uncomfortable.


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