Mouthwash is a very useful product. Swishing, rinsing, and gargling mouthwash is a good way to clean bacteria, debris, and prevent viral infection.

Unfortunately, mouthwash is sometimes abused by those who are addicted to alcohol. Alcohol is used in mouthwash as the main ingredient for cleaning out bacteria and infections. This high alcohol content in mouthwash leads many who are addicted to alcohol to try and get drunk off of the product. Some are informed on this matter and some are not, but it is useful to understand how mouthwash is abused and how it can be prevented.


Is it Possible to Drink Mouthwash?

While mouthwash has a very strong and unpleasant taste, it is possible to drink it. It is sometimes hard having to swish the chemical around in your mouth for an extended period of time, but it is possible for someone to drink it. Of course, drinking mouthwash is the last resort of someone addicted to alcohol, and it is not the typical choice of someone not addicted to alcohol.

Another context in which mouthwash may be used in this way is by teenagers under the legal drinking age. As you need to be 21 years old in the United States in order to buy alcohol, a teenager might buy mouthwash in order to get drunk. This is not a wise decision in the least.

People who are struggling with alcohol addictions should seek professional help. Severe withdrawal from alcohol addiction can cause death. Seeking to stave off withdrawals or simply satisfy an addiction, many will turn to drinking mouthwash as a last-ditch effort to get alcohol. This may also occur when all alcohol has been removed from the home of someone suffering from alcohol addiction.

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Will Drinking Mouthwash get Someone Drunk?

While it is technically possible for one to get intoxicated by drinking mouthwash, doing so may lead to death or organ failure. Much like liquor and high-proof spirits, mouthwash has a high concentration of alcohol. The amount of alcohol found in mouthwash can range anywhere from 18 to over 26. More information on the alcohol content of mouthwash can be found here.

The alcohol content of mouthwash is rather high and makes it a very strong alcoholic beverage, but there is much more to mouthwash that makes it a poor choice for those seeking that sensation. What would happen if people started drinking mouthwash instead of regular alcohol? This research team from the Institute for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy has determined what would happen.

In short, the team concluded that replacing normal alcoholic beverages with mouthwash would lead to widespread and potentially deadly toxicity in users. Further studies have revealed that ten to fifteen percent of alcoholics that have been hospitalized for alcohol use had consumed “non-beverage alcohol” such as mouthwash or rubbing alcohol, both of which are not suitable for drinking.

Risks of Drinking Mouthwash

The manufacturers of mouthwash are aware of the potential for abuse, so the alcohol in mouthwash has been chemically altered in order to make it taste unpleasant. However, the unpleasant taste is the least of one’s worries when drinking mouthwash. The side effects of drinking mouthwash include:

  • Death
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Organ failure
  • Blindness

Alcohol is not the only chemical in mouthwash that can cause harm. There is a myriad of other chemicals in mouthwash that makes it unsuitable for drinking. These chemicals include:

  • Eucalyptol
  • Thymol
  • Menthol
  • Hydrogen peroxide

If you or someone you know is in danger of drinking mouthwash or is suffering from alcoholism, you are not alone and there is still hope. Vicki Hogarth, an award-winning journalist and former alcoholic, has turned to drinking mouthwash before. In her article on the subject, she writes “It’s OK to fall, as long as you are willing to get up and fight again.”

Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-276-2886 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.

Medical disclaimer:

Chapters Capistrano strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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