Q. My sister is drinking mouthwash on a daily basis. What internal damage would be done from drinking 20 or 30 ounces of mouthwash every day for a year?
She had her gallbladder removed two months ago but she hasn’t stopped drinking the mouthwash. I am quite worried about her.
A. Mouthwash can contain quite a lot of alcohol, 25 percent or more. Consuming 6 or 8 ounces of ethanol a day is bad enough, but imbibing the other “phenolic compounds” such as eucalyptol, thymol, methyl salicylate and menthol in various types of mouthwash may also be dangerous.
Other readers have reported similar problems:
“My girlfriend is a hopeless alcoholic. She lied about drinking and I found her passed out with an empty bottle of mouthwash in her hand. As I looked around the house, I found many empty bottles of generic mouthwash. I don’t know what to do.”
We have heard from people whose loved ones have died as a result of abusing alcohol-containing mouthwash. Fighting alcoholism is a difficult task, and you will need a lot of help if your sister is willing to try. AA and AlAnon can be helpful. A prescription for naltrexone (ReVia) or acamprosate (Campral) along with behavior modification might also make a difference.