When You Swallow Mouthwash, This Is What Happens To Your Body

The importance of hygiene can't be overstated. It's important to keep your teeth clean, to keep your gums healthy, and to generally keep your entire mouth cared for. One crucial product in dental hygiene is mouthwash, which can eliminate bad breath and even be used to clean your toothbrush if it's an alcohol-based variety. However, we've all been in the position in which you're gargling mouthwash and you accidentally swallow some. But what happens when you swallow mouthwash? Is it harmful to you? 

Important to know first is that there are different types of mouthwash, which would naturally have different impacts if swallowed. According to the Gentle Dental Center, there are four main types of mouthwash: natural, cosmetic, fluoride, and antiseptic. Natural is exactly what it sounds like — it washes your mouth but with only natural ingredients. Cosmetic, on the other hand, freshens your breath without actually cleaning your mouth. Fluoride, then, can wash your mouth while protecting your teeth from cavities. Finally, antiseptic varieties are the most common mouthwashes. These ones kill bacteria and contain alcohol to wash out your mouth effectively.

Medical attention should be sought if you swallow this much mouthwash

Mouthwash is, in essence, a double-edged sword. It kills the bacteria in your mouth that can be harmful to your teeth and gums and can prevent you from getting mouth diseases, but it can also be toxic if you consume too much of it (via Healthline). It's okay to ingest it in small quantities, but if you're swallowing entire mouthfuls at a time, you may want to seek professional help since it can be toxic to the body. This, of course, depends on each individual mouthwash's ingredients, so you should always know what is in your bottle.

According to Healthline, some side effects of ingesting mouthwash can include dizziness, an upset stomach, and drowsiness, as well as an intoxicating effect due to the alcohol in it. Solomon Wright, a dentist, adds that diarrhea can occur as well, but notes that any side effects shouldn't last more than a few days. Children's bodies are more susceptible to these side effects, so medical attention is warranted if a child swallows mouthwash. Adults can handle more but still need to be wary. Swallowing too much can lead to the need for IV fluid and medication (via Healthline).