Dangers of Drinking Mouthwash
Mouthwash is used to eliminate bacteria and odors from the mouth and is typically gargled or swished around the mouth before the user spits it out. If consumed at a certain quantity, mouthwashes can cause organ damage and death.
Contents of Mouthwash
Many mouthwashes contain the following ingredients:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Wood alcohol (methyl alcohol)
Because death by mouthwash is not on a coroner’s list, it is often referred to as an alcohol overdose, so there are no official death records.
Reasons People Drink Mouthwash
A primary consumer of mouthwash is alcoholics who either do not have access to or money to purchase beer or liquor. A growing number of consumers are teenagers who are not old enough to legally buy alcohol. Unfortunately, because mouthwash is readily available from a local pharmacy, many teens incorrectly assume that drinking mouthwash is safe.
Effects of Drinking Mouthwash
The dangers of drinking mouthwash include gastrointestinal upset, oral burns, and alcohol poisoning. Drinking mouthwash can cause severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which can cause dehydration that may require hospitalization. In addition, drinking mouthwash can have the following negative effects:
- Burns and scarring of the throat and mouth
- Tissue irritation and damage
- Losing consciousness
- Low blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heart beat
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty walking
- Delayed reflexes
The ingredients in mouthwash are not meant to be consumed by humans. A study conducted at UCLA and published in the Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, focused on the fatal side effects of ingesting large amounts of mouthwash. The study examined the body of a 45-year-old man who died from ingesting three liters of mouthwash. The examining doctors concluded that the subject had died of heart failure and multi organ failure, and that although the alcohol in the mouthwash probably killed him, the other added ingredients contributed to the damage and were more harmful than alcohol alone.
Learn More about the Dangers of Drinking Mouthwash
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