Can You Die From Drinking Mouthwash?
Every year, thousands of alcoholics who either don't have money to purchase beer or liquor, or don't have access, turn to drinking mouthwash to get their daily fix. In addition to this, a growing number of teenagers, who aren't yet old enough to buy alcohol from a store, are noticing that mouthwash has alcohol listed in it's ingredients and are doing the same thing, incorrectly assuming it's safe. While mouthwash is cheap and easily attainable from any local pharmacy or grocery store, those who are thinking about drinking should be aware of the dangers involved. Once they know the truth about this deadly liquid, they may think twice about putting it in their body.
Drinking Mouthwash is not only a very unhealthy and dangerous thing to do, but can also kill you. It's not uncommon to find incidents on the internet and in the news where people have died after ingesting large amounts of mouthwash. I've personally heard many stories about people mysteriously dying and alcohol being suspected in their death, then later, the coroner ended up finding large amounts of mouthwash fluid in their stomachs and digestive systems. Because the coroner's list the death as a type of alcohol overdose, these kinds of deaths do not gain much attention and there is no official death toll record since they are grouped together with regular alcohol poisoning deaths. A while back, I was searching on google to see how many cases I could find where people had died from it. The numbers were staggering. I came across countless depressing stories on forums from people that lost loved ones who apparently thought it would be a good idea to attempt to get drunk by drinking listerine or scope.
While reading about all those stories involving people who died after they drank mouthwash, it reminded me of an accident I had with an alternative type of alcohol once. A few years ago, I accidentally ingested isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and ended up in the hospital. I'll never forget the surprise I had when the doctor there told me that many alcoholics end up dead or in the emergency room after attempting to get drunk from isopropyl alcohol. I thought this was one of the craziest things I had ever heard, considering all the damage this little accident of mine did to my digestive system. Well the ingredients in mouth wash can be just as damaging, because they were not meant to be consumed by humans. If you would purposely ingest mouthwash, you either don't care much about yourself, or don't value life and the ability to breathe.
Mouthwash does contain a large volume of alcohol content in it, often more than 25%. But it's not the same type of alcohol that you would find in a beer or a shot of gin. Those types of alcoholic drinks contain ethanol alcohol, and while this is the same type found in mouthwash, it's made into denatured alcohol in order to pass U.S. regulations. The FDA knows that underage people would constantly abuse mouthwash if the alcohol was similar to the kind found in beer, so they require the makers of the mouthwash to convert the ethanol into denatured alcohol so it becomes undrinkable. In order to do this, extra ingredients are added, which can often make the alcohol either poisonous, or at the very least, make the taste of it very unpleasing so it can't be extracted and made into normal alcoholic drinks. One common chemical used to make denatured alcohol is methanol, which can cause people to go blind if they ingest it, since it has a very high toxicity level. Mouthwashes may contain denatured alcohol that was made with methanol, or a number of other ingredients. The companies that make mouthwashes don't reveal how exactly they process their ethanol or what ingredient they use to convert it, so it's anybody's guess as to whether each specific brand is poisonous or not. Since it's not intended for drinking, this is perfectly legal, just like hair spray, gasoline, and bleach are perfectly legal as long as they aren't intended for drinking. Both of which can easily kill you if you drink them. During prohibition, when alcohol was made illegal, many people were drinking denatured alcohol, and more than 10,000 people died from consuming it in a 5 year time period during those times.
Some other alarming info you should be aware of is that there have been a number of recent studies conducted which have claimed that mouthwash can cause a type of oral cancer when used regularly, and now many companies are trying to cash in on this by trying to develop differerent types of mouthwash without alcohol. This may or may not be true, and the jury is still out on this topic since they are such recent discoveries and more research is needed. But let's say there is a chance that it actually causes oral cancer in some cases, and let's say these researchers are right. If it can cause a type of cancer, simply by swishing it around in your mouth every day and spitting it out, just imagine what type of damage it can do to your stomach when sitting in there for prolonged periods of time.
Another study, which was published in the Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, focused on the fatal side effects of ingesting large amounts of mouthwash. The UCLA study was performed by 4 doctors, in which they examined a 45-year-old man's body after he ingested 3 liters and died. They concluded that he had died of heart failure and multiorgan failure, and that the alcohol in the mouthwash probably killed him, but the other added ingredients probably contributed to the damage and made things much worse than if it were a regular consumable drink with alcohol in it.
Teens who have heard about people drinking mouthwash, or saw a woman getting drunk from it on the reality show Intervention, need to understand that the people who do this are usually alcoholics and are so desperate to get drunk that they do not care about dying. Alcoholism is a very serious disorder, and many alcoholics will consciously drink themselves to death, like the character Nicholas Cage played in the movie Leaving Las Vegas. In the case of mouthwash, you are dealing with a much more volatile substance than regular alcoholic drinks and spirits like beers, malts, and liquors. Alcoholics who have resorted to drinking mouthwash should seek professional treatment for their addiction, and anybody who has drank large amounts of mouthwash should call a Poison Control center immediately.
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