What Happens If You Swallow Mouthwash? Symptoms, Treatment
Mouthwash is a very useful invention when it comes to freshening up your stale or bad breath.
But it can be even more useful. It can kill harmful bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, and improve the health of your teeth and gums.
Even so, you don’t want to swallow mouthwash. It is not intended for drinking – in fact, it can be toxic in large enough quantities.
That’s why it’s important to know what’s in that bottle of mouthwash in your medicine cabinet and what to do if someone accidentally (or intentionally) swallows something.
Suppose you are usually careful about using mouthwash. You spin it around in your mouth for the recommended time. You may wince at the taste or the sensation, but you stretch it out for the health of your mouth.
If you accidentally swallow that mouthful of mouthwash, you may feel a little bit of regret in the form of a slightly upset stomach.
Many mouthwashes contain fluoride, which is known to cause stomach upset. You may feel queasy or nauseous, but it should go away relatively quickly.
Fluoride isn’t the only ingredient in many mouthwashes – many also contain alcohol. Some of the most common types of alcohol in mouthwash are:
A small amount is unlikely to affect you, but a larger amount may be intoxicating.
Consuming a lot of mouthwash can cause symptoms such as dizziness or sleepiness. In severe cases, difficulty breathing or even convulsions may occur.
It is especially important to be vigilant with children. Their bodies are smaller so it is much easier for them to overdose.
When a child has swallowed mouthwash
If your child has swallowed mouthwash, call the Poison Center’s toll-free hotline at 800-222-1222 immediately. Describe the brand and amount of mouthwash your child has swallowed.
The helpline operator may also ask you to provide the child’s age and weight, and you will likely need to describe the child’s symptoms if they still have symptoms.
When an adult swallows mouthwash
If you or another adult swallow a small amount of mouthwash, you may be able to take a watch-and-wait approach.
One important thing to remember: don’t get sick. If you experience serious symptoms, such as convulsions, a fast heart rate, or difficulty breathing, call your doctor or contact the emergency room.
If you accidentally ingest a small amount, don’t panic. If it’s just a little, you’ll likely be fine, or your stomach will get a little upset for a short while. Call your doctor and see if this helps you calm down.
A larger amount should warrant a call to your doctor or the poison information hotline. If you are instructed to go to the hospital, leave immediately. The sooner you are treated, the better your chances of recovery.
When you visit the emergency room, they may want to do some tests before prescribing the necessary treatments.
Possible treatments for mouthwash overdose can include:
In some very severe cases, people have needed kidney dialysis.
Again, swallowing a small amount of mouthwash is probably not a big problem.
However, it’s still a good idea to speak to a doctor or poison control expert if you are swallowing more than a small amount. They may suggest monitoring yourself for any unusual symptoms.
If you have swallowed mouthwash, do not take any drugs or products, such as ipecac, that cause vomiting. If a child has swallowed mouthwash, do not give anything to make them vomit.
Knowing how to use mouthwash safely is important. Here are some prevention strategies that can help you:
- Check out the mouthwash packaging before you buy it. In 1995, the Consumer Product Safety Commission set a rule that mouthwashes with at least 3 grams of ethanol per package must be packaged in a child-proof manner. Buy a bottle with this type of packaging so that your child cannot easily open the product.
- Keep mouthwash (and all other alcoholic products) out of your child’s reach. Put it on a tall shelf or cabinet that can be locked instead of leaving it on the bathroom counter.
- Go alcohol free. Listerine makes several lines of alcohol-free versions of its mouthwash, including the Smart Rinse Kids mouthwash for children. Alcohol-free mouthwash is also available from Orajel, ACT and Crest.
- Do not use mouthwash until your child is older. The American Dental Association recommends that children under the age of 6 not use mouthwash as they may accidentally ingest it.
- Monitor your child carefully when using mouthwash. Make sure that they can easily spit the mouthwash into the sink so that they don’t accidentally swallow it when trying to reach the basin.
One of the biggest problems with swallowing mouthwash is the absorption of alcohol in the product.
If you have children, be careful of any products that contain alcohol in your household, whether it be mouthwash, hand sanitizer, or any other product known to cause cases of poisoning or poisoning.
Even a relatively small amount of ethanol, like 1 ounce, can be harmful to children, who tend to be more sensitive to it. You can develop hypoglycemia, among other things.
If your mouthwash contains fluoride, this ingredient can upset your stomach if you swallow a significant amount.
Fluoride gels can also cause symptoms such as pain, nausea, or vomiting if swallowed in large quantities. In rare cases, excessive fluoride can lead to serious problems such as: B. to lower your body’s calcium levels.
According to the American Dental Association, some of the most common ingredients in so-called “therapeutic mouthwash,” which are mouthwashes used to kill bacteria that can lead to tooth decay, include:
- Cetylpyridinium chloride, an antimicrobial agent
- Chlorhexidine, another antimicrobial or antibacterial agent
- essential oils like menthol or eucalyptus, which can reduce plaque and gingivitis
- Fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay
- Peroxide, which is often added to mouthwashes to whiten teeth.
These ingredients can be good for your teeth, gums, and breath, but aren’t so good for the rest of your body when ingested.
The ingredients in mouthwash that are most harmful if swallowed are usually chlorhexidine gluconate, ethanol (ethyl alcohol), hydrogen peroxide, and methyl salicylate.
Even child-friendly mouthwashes are not intended to be swallowed. While they may not contain ethanol or other types of alcohol, they can still contain fluoride and other substances that could upset your stomach.
Conclusion: the amount of mouthwash swallowed is really important.
If you swallow a small amount of mouthwash, you probably won’t have any problems, especially if you don’t make it a habit.
However, a mouthful of mouthwash can cause problems. Be vigilant if you spit mouthwash into the sink after using it.
Don’t just rely on mouthwash to keep your mouth healthy and prevent tooth decay. Brush and floss regularly, and get regular checkups by your dentist.
Depending on your child’s age, if they’re younger than 6 years old or unable to spit, you may want to go without the mouthwash altogether and just highlight the brushing and flossing.