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Drinking Mouthwash Side Effects & Dangers, and How You can Help

Mouthwash can be an effective way to fight cavities. However, mouthwash can also be a secret vice for people who are addicted to alcohol. The same ingredients that help clean millions of mouths every day can also get people drunk faster than “traditional” alcohol such as wine or beer. Mouthwash has a higher percentage of alcohol than these other drinks, which makes it a dangerous drug that is readily available in any drugstore. People often joke about drinking mouthwash, but it is no laughing matter. It is important to understand how this over-the-counter product can be abused. Can You Drink Mouthwash? Yes, you can drink mouthwash. The strong taste of mouthwash turns off many people. Indeed, it can be hard to swish the brands with high alcohol content around in your mouth for 30 seconds, as one Listerine commercial so famously noted, let alone swallow it. Given the choice, most people would pass on drinking mouthwash. But for individuals who do not have access to other forms of alcohol, mouthwash can become a temptation. Mouthwash is cheap and accessible. Anyone can go buy it at the store, no matter their age. Teenagers may use mouthwash to get drunk because they cannot buy alcohol in the store. People who struggle with addiction may turn to mouthwash because other forms of alcohol have been removed from their houses. Can You Get Drunk on Mouthwash? Yes, you can get drunk on mouthwash, but the risk of drinking could be organ failure or death. The concentration of alcohol in mouthwash is so high that inebriation occurs quickly, especially when compared to the concentration of other forms of alcohol. The original Listerine formula, for instance, has a 26.9 percent concentration of alcohol. Scope sits at 18.9 percent. Cepacol has one of the lowest concentrations at 14 percent. By contrast, most beers have 3 to 7 percent alcohol content while wine comes in at 12 percent. Mouthwash is extremely potent. Many people who use it to get drunk do not realize this, and it can quickly become a danger. But it isn’t just the alcohol content that makes it dangerous. The Dangers of Drinking Mouthwash The alcohol contained in mouthwash is denatured, meaning it has been doctored with chemicals to make it taste unpleasant. In fact, drinking this type of alcohol can have serious side effects, including:

  • Organ failure
  • Blindness
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Death, in extreme cases

Other ingredients in mouthwash may also cause harm to the body if they are ingested. These include:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Menthol
  • Thymol
  • Eucalyptol
  • Get Help for Drinking Mouthwash

If you know someone who is drinking mouthwash to get drunk, you can find help for them. Contact us today to help find their path to recovery. Photo via

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