Rinsing with mouthwash after a snack or meal can freshen your breath, and according to Mayo Clinic doctors, fluoridated mouthwash can also help prevent cavities. However, there are some side effects of using mouthwash that might occur if you use it improperly.
Swallowing Small Amounts of Mouthwash While Rinsing
Most labels on the back of a mouthwash bottle warn that you might experience adverse reactions if you swallow more mouthwash than is used for rinsing. Oral-B dentists advise that you not panic if you or your child ingests a small amount of mouthwash. Diarrhoea or queasiness might ensue, but it shouldn't be too dangerous.
Swallowing Large Amounts of Mouthwash, Intentionally or Unintentionally
According to the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, it is not uncommon for teens to drink large quantities of mouthwash for their alcoholic content. If you or someone you know swallows more mouthwash than is necessary for rinsing purposes, side effects can include vomiting, diarrhoea, slurred speech, dizziness, and according to Oral-B dentists, even a coma. It is imperative to call Poison Control or bring the victim to an emergency room if this occurs.
Burning Sensations After Rinsing
Many children have an aversion to mouthwash, which has a reputation for leaving a spicy, burning sensation inside the mouth after rinsing. While this is not necessarily a side effect, you can encourage those at risk for cavities to try mouthwash brands that come in mild flavours, such as orange or bubblegum.
Preventing Mouthwash Accidents in Small Children
Oral-B suggests diluting mouthwash if necessary. Even though some brands might not work as effectively when diluted, this can give you peace of mind when your child uses mouthwash, especially if he has a habit of swallowing.
Also, accompany your child every time he uses mouthwash to ensure he spits it out each time.
Tips for Using Non-Alcoholic Mouthwash
Common side effects of alcoholic mouthwash, according to Dr. Dan Peterson, include ulcers, numbness, stains, and even erosion of gums. If you experience any of these effects, switch to a non-alcoholic mouthwash. Non-alcoholic mouthwash is also recommended for use by a recovering alcoholic.