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Medium Risk

Also known as:

Act Total Care® Biotene Cepacol® CloSYS® Colgate® Crest Scope® Dr Tichenor’s® Listerine® mouth rinse oral rinse Parodontax Smart Mouth™ TheraBreath®

Close-up Of Person's Hand Pouring Mouthwash In Container
Possible Symptoms
  • Stomach upset
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Eye irritation
What to Do
  1. Wipe or rinse out mouth.
  2. Give a serving size of water to drink.
  3. Rinse any exposed skin with lukewarm water.
  4. Call 1-800-222-1222 for additional instructions
If Exposed to Eyes

If someone gets mouthwash splashed into the eye, there can be immediate burning and stinging which requires prompt first aid to avoid an eye injury.

  1. Start rinsing eye(s) with lukewarm water.
  2. Call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for further recommendations.

Watch this video to learn how to administer first aid for an eye exposure.


If swallowed, it can cause additional symptoms since some brands of mouthwash contain significant amounts of alcohol. Always confirm ingredients with a poison center if you are concerned.

Additional Information

Quick Facts about mouthwash


What does mouth wash do?


Traditionally, mouthwash helps reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease (gingivitis). Swishing the mouthwash can act like floss, getting in between your teeth to help remove food particles a brush cannot reach.

Mouthwashes are available in various formulations, ones that help freshen the breath and whiten teeth, while some help treat dry mouth, and fluoride rinses to prevent cavities and plaque. Some mouthwashes may contain alcohol, however, many mouthwashes sold today are alcohol-free to eliminate the undesired side effect of drying out the mouth and causing irritation.

Can you drink mouth wash? Do not swallow mouthwash; it should be spat out after use. However, there are times when people accidentally swallow it. Dentists do not recommend young children use mouthwash unless they give permission.

What happens if you drink mouth wash? 


With most mouthwash ingestions, there can be minor stomach upset and nausea with limited vomiting. Usually, poison centers recommend drinking a serving of water to help decrease the stomach’s irritation.

Why does mouth wash burn? Important to note is some mouthwashes contain a significant amount of alcohol, which results in the “burn” or the “bite” from the mouthwash some have come to expect. The greater concern is when a child ingests an alcohol-containing mouthwash since they are much more susceptible to the effects of alcohol and can show symptoms of drowsiness or vomiting when drinking small amounts.

If you find someone ingests a small amount of mouthwash, do not panic. Give them some water to drink. And call the Missouri Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center is open all day, every day, for poisoning emergencies and questions.

**Note: Don’t forget, every case is different. To ensure you are getting the best information for your situation, click below to call or chat. It is fast, free, and confidential.

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