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What Should I Do after Swallowing Mouthwash?

By Kathleen Howard
Updated May 21, 2024
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Mouthwash is a oral healthcare product intended to be used by adults and children over six years of age. The steps you should take after swallowing mouthwash will depend on your age, weight and the amount of mouthwash you consumed. While mouthwash should never be swallowed, in most cases, small amounts will not cause serious health problems. Many different types of mouthwash, including fluoride, non-alcoholic and alcoholic mouthwash, can be dangerous if ingested in large amounts. Children and adults who swallow large amounts of mouthwash should contact poison control for instructions on how to safely handle the situation.

If you have accidentally swallowed a small amount of mouthwash while gargling, there is usually no need to worry. In small amounts, the risks of swallowing mouthwash are typically limited to nausea and diarrhea. These side effects should subside within a few hours of swallowing it. If after a few hours your condition begins to worsen, contact a physician or poison control center to determine whether you need medical assistance.

In most cases, health concerns only arise when children or adults swallow mouthwash in moderate to large amounts. The more mouthwash was consumed, the greater the health concern. Although mouthwash might seem harmless, many products contain flouride and ethanol, which are poisonous when ingested in large amounts. Even flouride-free, non-alcoholic mouthwash can be dangerous. These products often contain hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine gluconate and methyl salicylate, which can cause serious health problems.

If you have swallowed more than a few sips while using a mouthwash, contact a poison control center. Unless you have been advised to do so by a medical professional, you should not try to make yourself throw up after swallowing mouthwash. Before calling poison control, make a note of the mouthwash you ingested and the length of time it has been since you swallowed the product. A poison control center will evaluate your situation based on your age, weight and the poisons you consumed.

Depending on the severity of swallowing mouthwash, you might be advised to seek additional medical attention. Once inside an emergency room or hospital, your vital signs will be taken and a medical professional will assess your condition. Your healthcare provider will then take the necessary action to cleanse your body of the poison. While this is a worst-case scenario, it is important to understand that mouthwash poisoning is very serious. When using mouthwash, carefully follow the product’s instructions to avoid potential health problems.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1003187 — On May 17, 2020

I swallowed mouthwash and I have a pain in my chest. What should I do?

By anon995757 — On May 23, 2016

I just swallowed a little bit but it felt like a lot and I just had surgery on my mouth. What should I do?

By anon358926 — On Dec 13, 2013

OK, help. How much is too much? It's only been about five minutes and I accidentally swallowed an ounce of Scope mouthwash. I'm not feeling sick, yet I have just swallowed it. I drank a glass of water. How much Scope is serious? Will I be OK?

By anon316488 — On Jan 29, 2013

How about stop swallowing the mouthwash now and maybe it will go away.

By anon271105 — On May 25, 2012

I brush my teeth with mouthwash and never realized it could be the reason for me being nauseated a lot. Since October 2011, I used to brush my teeth maybe three times per week with mouthwash and would swallow the mouthwash. Well, I started feeling nauseated a lot, and it never really went away, so I had a procedure where the doctor looked at my stomach by going in my mouth with a scope, but he did not find anything.

So, I am wondering what should I do.

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