Do people often ask if they can use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash for their oral health? The answer is yes. But you cannot use it too often and only use it after diluting it heavily. And be warned – never swallow it.
Are you considering hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse because you are too tired of spending money on big brand names, or do you want to freshen breath, whiten your teeth, or soothe sores? Then it can be considered a medical cabinet staple.
There are a few common questions you may have. Can you frequently gargle with hydrogen peroxide? What are the risks of using hydrogen peroxide as your daily mouthwash? Can you use peroxide for mouth sores or other oral infections? But you should also check with your dentist before you think about using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash.
Before using hydrogen peroxide or HP as a mouth rinse, you need to know one thing. This HP solution often refers to a solution with more than 3% concentration. Even then, try diluting it further using water before rinsing.
What is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is primarily an oxidizing agent with disinfectant, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. HP also has a mild antiseptic property and has various household uses. For example, you can clean countertops and prevent infection in case of minor burns and cuts. It is possible because it can kill germs.
Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound that consists of hydrogen with oxygen. One can easily buy it at most drug stores and use it for everything from disinfecting wounds to cleaning your bathtubs. Peroxide production is not an issue, so the chemical is readily available.
You can gargle with it to soothe a sore throat, whiten teeth, and reduce gum inflammations. Yes, you can safely gargle with hydrogen peroxide, and it works magic. But note that the diluted solutions should be safe to use but might burn your skin and should never be swallowed.
Many recommend using hydrogen peroxide to clean your kitchen sinks. First, try baking soda to clean the sink and then rinse it with hydrogen peroxide for better results. When mixed with sodium, it is known as oxygen bleach which releases extra oxygen when adding water. It helps clean mildew and mold stains on any surface, including your cutting boards.
Health Benefits of Gargling With Hydrogen Peroxide
Here are several benefits of using hydrogen peroxide as a mouth rinse for your dental health:
1 Treating gum disease
The antibacterial properties of hydrogen peroxide improve your oral health and help treat gum disease. A study found that the chemical made participants’ gums healthier and reduced amounts of the periodontal pathogen responsible for causing gingivitis.
Plaque on teeth and tartar found in your mouth is a slimy film of bacteria known as a biofilm. HP releases oxygen that quickly destroys these bacteria. According to a 2017 study, individuals who used HP had significantly fewer signs of gum disease than the other group.
One most significant advantage of gargling with this chemical solution is that it can reach the mouth’s back and spots that might be hard to achieve with your toothbrush and dental floss.
2 Soothing sore throats
Peroxide’s antibacterial properties can help your body fight off infections that are responsible for causing sore throats. It also helps to loosen the thick or hardened mucus in your throat. This loosened mucus drains better, relieving pain and irritation. When the mucus comes into contact with the chemical solution, it creates foam. This foam makes your mucus less sticky, thus draining it out.
There are many other alternatives, especially for young children and adults who have difficulty gargling without swallowing. They can try gargling with warm salt water instead for similar benefits.
For salt water gargling, you should mix one cup of water with a tablespoon of salt. Swish this salt water mixture for about 60 seconds. Then spit out the solution after gargling.
3 Whitening teeth
Did you know that Hydrogen peroxide is a type of bleaching agent and is also used for whitening your teeth? Many of your toothpaste and mouthwash in stores already contain this compound.
Researchers investigated how effectively hydrogen peroxide can be used as mouthwashes in one study. The study results indicated that if used over time, hydrogen peroxide mouthwashes can increase the whiteness of your teeth.
Nowadays, Hydrogen peroxide is the main active ingredient found in most over-the-counter. The chemical is also used in professional tooth whitening products most dentists use.
As a home remedy, gargling with Hydrogen peroxide may make your teeth look whiter for a while. Interestingly, a 2015 study found that HP mouthwashes need to be used consistently over a period to produce lasting effects.
4 Healing canker sores
As you know, Hydrogen peroxide is antiseptic, which can help to heal cuts, wounds, and canker sores. When you apply it to a sore or cut, the HP foams, and releases oxygen. In the process, it helps to clean the area and reduce bacteria.
5 Reducing the spread of COVID
The chemical can help reduce the spread of Covid germs from patients to dentists. Ongoing studies have determined the efficacy of Hydrogen peroxide as it extensively limits your dentists’ exposure to COVID from other patients.
Risks of Using Hydrogen Peroxide Mouth Rinse
Very harmful when ingested: Note that the chemical can be dangerous if you swallow it. Intake or swallowing too much of the peroxide solution might cause serious side effects. Too much of the solution can also burn your digestive tract, cause vomiting and nausea.
Weakened enamel: Peroxide is very dangerous and can damage your tooth enamel if used too often, too long, or in too high concentrations.
What are Dentists Saying?
Interestingly all dentists do not agree about the safety of peroxide. Some dentists say that 1% hydrogen peroxide solutions are excellent antibacterial agents. But it is important to note that they should not be used too often or for too long.
The primary reason being the chemical can penetrate your enamel, dentin, and even the collagen-rich tissue located within the dentin, damaging them as a result.
Many dentists do not recommend peroxide rinses as a whitening solution. This is probably because HP-based mouth rinses can obtain noticeable teeth whitening results. You might need high concentration solutions. And higher concentrations could be harmful to your oral mucosa.
Higher concentrations are safe to use for professional dental use only. Probably because your gums are protected with hardening resins or a liquid rubber dam at the clinic. Moreover, your dentist would know the right solution concentration to apply.
Few dentists also agree that a peroxide mouthwash can truly reduce bacterial growth. But dentists are more generous in promoting it as a way to whiten your teeth – but must use it with utmost care and precaution.
Other dentists believe that peroxide can lower the level of bacteria in the mouth for a short period. This is the primary reason – during the COVID pandemic, few dentists asked their patients to gargle with a peroxide mouth rinse prior to going in for dental treatment.
How to Safely Gargle With Hydrogen Peroxide?
Before you start gargling with peroxide, your dentist will recommend mixing water with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to obtain a 1% solution. It is believed that at that concentration – peroxide is no longer carcinogenic.
It will make your mouth feel better, use peroxide as a mouth rinse. However, you need to know that peroxide does not clean your teeth as brushing does.
Your dentist will not recommend peroxide for bleaching your teeth or to deal with tooth decay, sore teeth, or gums. Moreover, you need to be extra careful as using it can often turn your tongue black.
According to other dentists, using peroxide with regular brushing and flossing can reduce gum inflammation and infection. It helps whiten your teeth, but using it every day may negatively impact your oral health. Your dentist will recommend limiting the use of peroxide to just a few times per month.
Most of the dentists are of the opinion that you could use peroxide mouth rinses:
- But HP is not recommended for teeth whitening.
- You should NEVER swallow hydrogen peroxide.
- You should not be using it as a mouth rinse in more than 3% concentrations.
- It reduces levels of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
- Peroxide can help soothe your sore throat.
- It can temporarily help with gum inflammation and even gingivitis.
How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide as a Mouthwash?
Ways you can use hydrogen peroxide for mouthwash for better oral hygiene?
The key to safely gargling using peroxide is to ensure you never swallow it. This holds good whether you use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide or 35% “food grade” hydrogen peroxide.
- Take one part of the 3% peroxide solution mixed with two parts of water. You can easily find this strength of the solution in a brown bottle at most drug stores. But if you buy a 1% solution, then you do not need to dilute the peroxide.
- Do not use peroxide every day, except for short periods. Only use the peroxide mouthwash if you have a sore throat or inflamed gums.
- Take a small mouthful of the solution and tilt your head back while gargling. Make sure you do not swallow it. Gargle and swish the solution mixture around in your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds. You can use a timer while gargling.
- After gargling, spit the solution. Never try to gargle the mixture for more than 90 seconds, as it may be harmful.
As you have seen, hydrogen peroxide has several benefits. And you have also seen how peroxide can have different dental usages. It is very effective, and you can use the peroxide mouthwash to kill bacteria to help soothe infections and sore throats.
Gargling hydrogen peroxide is an effective way to solve many oral problems, such as disinfecting your mouth, whitening your teeth, and soothing your sore throat. Just make sure you dilute the solution first. Be careful not to swallow any in the process. If you desire to whiten your teeth, try to gargle consistently for a few months for the best results.