Listerine Burns

…or, How Being an Over Adventurous Five-year Old Can Get You in Trouble.

Zach recently started brushing his teeth using “peppermint” toothpaste. To him, this was a major accomplishment replete with dancing, jumping, and joyous cheers and singing. To cap off the experience, he decided that he wanted to rinse with Listerine. Now, any person that has ever encountered this wonder of dental hygiene can guess what came next. But, to be fair, I don’t use the original lung burner, opting instead for the tamer green variety. Oh, but it still burns!

I opened the bottled and asked Zach to first smell what he was about to taste. He responded with a distinct “Yum,” which caused me concern that he might try to drink the oral antiseptic that was originally created as a multi-purpose disinfectant. That couldn’t be good so I offered to pour a small amount in a glass for him. That wouldn’t do; he wanted to drink from the bottle just like I do. Great! So, I handed him the bottle and watched.

He wasted no time in tipping the bottle. His pursed lips allowed only a small amount to roll into his mouth…his open nose let what appeared to be a gallon wash down his throat! He was simultaneously intaking and exhaling green fire water. He spewed Listerine everywhere except in the sink. I hated the scene but could only laugh as his face twisted in pain. All the joys of using peppermint toothpaste were instantly washed away as he hung his face over the sink, crying and spitting in pain.

When he collected himself, he turned to me and said, “that burns.” Well, I warned him. To try and save the moment and to keep him from hating all mouthwashes going forward, I explained that Listerine is different and that we could buy him special mouthwash made just for kids.


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