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Hydrogen Peroxide as Mouthwash: Exploring the Pros and Cons

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Hydrogen peroxide (HP) is a common household item used as a disinfectant, and it has gained popularity with its ability to kill bacteria. Due to these uses, including the ability to whiten teeth, many people are now considering hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash.

Like many other dental products with numerous benefits, there are also several potential risks and drawbacks associated with using hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash.

This article helps you to understand the extent and possibility of using hydrogen peroxide in your oral health by:

  • Noting down the benefits and risks of using hydrogen peroxide for mouthwash.
  • Highlighting what dentists say about using this product in oral care.
  • Understanding how to use hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash.
  • Discovering alternatives to hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash.

What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Photo of a bathroom countertop where a bottle of hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash next to an empty glass

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound consisting of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms (H2O2). This is an oxidizing agent with disinfectant, antibacterial, and antiviral properties and is used on a number of household chores, including cleaning and preventing infection in minor cuts and burns.

Hydrogen peroxide is safe for use when in a diluted concentration. However, it is prudent to note that this product is available in different concentrations, including for industrial use, which is reactive. This means when looking for hydrogen peroxide for domestic use, ensure that it is highly diluted, not exceeding 3% in most cases.

Hydrogen peroxide is related to carbamide peroxide for teeth whitening. However, they both work differently. Moreover, when used safely, hydrogen peroxide can be helpful in other dental care routines.

Benefits of Gargling and Rinsing With Hydrogen Peroxide as Mouthwash

There are many benefits associated with gargling and rinsing with hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash. Here are some of the main benefits you can get:

  • Teeth whitening capabilities

Dentists generally use hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth. It can also help whiten teeth when used as mouthwash and is often a key ingredient in most DIY teeth whitening methods. It breaks down and removes surface stains caused by foods and drinks.

  • Kills bad breath

Hydrogen peroxide has antibacterial properties that can help kill harmful bacteria in the mouth. This includes bacteria that cause bad breath. This product achieves this by neutralizing the sulfur compounds that such bacteria produce.

  • Prevents gingivitis

Gingivitis is a gum disease that causes inflammation and bleeding of the gums. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, hydrogen peroxide can kill the bacteria causing such infections, ultimately preventing and treating it.

Scientific studies have found that using hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash significantly reduced the amount of the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is known to cause gingivitis.

  • Reduces plaque buildup

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that can accumulate on your teeth. This may cause issues like tooth decay and gum disease. Hydrogen peroxide kills the bacteria that contribute to this formation, ultimately reducing instances of plaque buildup.

One of the key benefits of using hydrogen peroxide mouthwash in preventing plaque is that it can reach the back of the mouth and other hard-to-reach areas for brushing and dental floss.

  • Soothing sore throat

Thanks to its antibacterial properties, you can gargle hydrogen peroxide to soothe or relieve a sore throat. It kills the bacteria causing the infection, ultimately reducing inflammation and swelling in the throat.

Moreover, hydrogen peroxide for mouthwash also helps to loosen hardened or thick mucus in the throat, making it drain much better, hence relieving irritation.

  • It is safe for most people

Mouth rinse made with hydrogen peroxide is generally safe for most people. It is a product that is readily available over the counter. Moreover, it is also an inexpensive solution compared to most other oral hygiene products.

However, while hydrogen peroxide is safe for use as mouthwash, it is important to note that it should be used in moderation and when properly diluted. At higher concentrations, hydrogen peroxide may lead to irritations and even damage to the teeth and gums.

Younger people should also be supervised by adults when using this product. For more information, refer to our guide on hydrogen peroxide for teenagers.

Risks of Using Hydrogen Peroxide as Mouthwash

While hydrogen peroxide has been proven to be useful in oral health, there are still a few drawbacks and risks that it poses. Some of them include:

  • Irritation

The use of hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash may cause irritation to the gums and other mouth tissues. This is more so when used in higher concentrations or used too frequently.

  • Weakened enamel

Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent. It is used in teeth whitening as it can break down surface stains on teeth. Since it is a reactive bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide can damage the tooth enamel if used for too long and too often.

It is important to note that teeth whitening is not done regularly, which is why that procedure is technically harmless. However, using this bleaching agent regularly as mouthwash can easily erode your tooth enamel.

  • Harmful when ingested

It is not advisable to swallow hydrogen peroxide, even when used as mouthwash. Accidentally swallowing this product can lead to various side effects, including nausea and vomiting.

In severe cases, swallowing hydrogen peroxide leads to internal organ damage, including burning the digestive tract.

  • Discoloration

Using hydrogen peroxide for too long can cause tooth discoloration or damage to tooth enamel. It is one of the causes of yellow teeth that can significantly affect your dental aesthetics.

  • Possibility of chemical burns

Prolonged use of hydrogen peroxide, especially in higher concentrations, can lead to chemical burns. There have been reports of people experiencing chemical burns due to the prolonged use of highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide.

Can You Use Hydrogen Peroxide as Mouthwash Every Day?

Based on the pros and cons of hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash highlighted above, it is evidently clear that while the product is beneficial in keeping bacteria at bay, it can also have detrimental impacts when used for long and too often.

This means that using hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse daily can harm your oral health.

Hydrogen peroxide is an antibacterial product. This means it kills all types of bacteria. However, it is important to note that our mouth is home to good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria in the mouth help to fight off infection and diseases while keeping the bad bacteria in check.

When you kill all the bacteria in the mouth, including the good bacteria, you will create an environment for diseases and other dental infections to thrive.

This means there may be an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, leading to gum diseases and cavity and tartar buildup. This is why in place of hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse, you may consider other products that can boost your oral microbiome.

Moreover, this bleaching agent can cause chemical burns and weakens the enamel when used too often, especially in high concentrations. This is why you should use it sparingly, at least not more than once or twice a week.

What Do Dentists Say About Hydrogen Peroxide?

Dentists have used hydrogen peroxide as a bleaching agent for many years. However, while it is still not widely recognized as the best substitute for mouthwash and other oral care routines, there is still a gap in understanding whether hydrogen peroxide is safe and recommended for home use as a mouthwash.

We have sampled various thoughts from different qualified dentists, and here are their opinions on hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash:

'Recommending Hydrogen Peroxide Rinses to Dental Patients' by Michelle Strange

“New orthodontic patients may find hydrogen peroxide rinses more helpful as their mouths are tender to brush and will need to kill the bacteria to prevent diseases”

In this video, Michelle Strange, a registered dental hygienist, offers a hydrogen peroxide rinse solution that has multiple applications, ranging from treatment of canker sores and mouth injuries to use as a preprocedural rinse.

'The Benefits of Hydrogen Peroxide as a Mouthwash' by Dr. Eric Berg

“Hydrogen peroxide can be an effective tool for maintaining good oral hygiene, but it should not be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing.”

Dr. Eric Berg, a chiropractor and nutritionist, created a video discussing the benefits of using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash. He provides information on how it can help with oral hygiene and how to use it safely.

Dr. Berg discusses the benefits of using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash, including its ability to kill bacteria and freshen breath. He suggests using a 1:1 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water as a mouthwash, and swishing it around for 30-60 seconds before spitting it out.

'Why You Shouldn't Rinse Your Mouth With Hydrogen Peroxide for Whiter Teeth' by Dr. Suhail Mohiuddin, DDS

“Hydrogen peroxide, if used as a daily rinse, can cause tissue necrosis and chronic inflammation of your gums.”

According to Dr. Suhail Mohiuddin, DDS, dentist and founder of Dentologie, you should not use hydrogen peroxide directly from the bottle or use it regularly. He said so in a TikTok video in response to a video of another TikToker gargling with hydrogen peroxide straight from the bottle.

In this video, according to the Dentist, you mustn’t use hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash. As he mentions in the video, you can end up with red painful gums or even death of the tissue inside your mouth when you do not use diluted hydrogen peroxide.

How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide as Mouthwash

Using hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash is pretty straightforward. Here’s a quick guide for using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash:

  1. Dilute: Dilute the hydrogen peroxide in equal parts water before using it as mouthwash.
  2. Swish: Swish the solution in your mouth for 30 – 60 seconds.
  3. Spit: Do not swallow the solution and spit it when done. Ensure to rinse your mouth with water.

Alternatives to Hydrogen Peroxide as a Mouthwash

There are other alternative mouthwash options that you can use in place of hydrogen peroxide. They include:

  • Using traditional mouthwash: There are many types of conventional mouthwash options available that you can add to your regular oral hygiene regimen. Here’s a quick guide to help you pick the best mouthwash based on your needs.
  • Saltwater: Using saltwater to gargle as mouthwash can help to kill bacteria while also soothing irritations in the mouth.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda is an ideal alternative as it helps to neutralize bad breath while whitening teeth.

Final Thoughts

Using hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash can be quite beneficial as it helps to kill bacteria that cause infections and bad breath. However, while this can be a good addition to your oral hygiene routine, it should be done cautiously.

Regular use of hydrogen peroxide can cause oral health issues, including weakening of the enamel, chemical burns, and irritations. This is more so the case when it is used often or in high concentrations.

While dentists advocate for hydrogen peroxide and its oral health capabilities, they provide caution on its use. For instance, it is important not to use highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide, and it is also crucial not to use it too often.

Nevertheless, as a rule of thumb, it would be prudent to consult with your dentist before using any new dental health products, including hydrogen peroxide, to ensure that it is safe for you.


How Many Times Should I Use Hydrogen Peroxide As Mouthwash?

Regular use of hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash is not recommended. Dentists suggest using it at most once or twice a week when diluted.

Can I Rinse My Mouth With Water After Using Hydrogen Peroxide?

It is recommended to rinse your mouth with water after using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash. This helps you to get rid of residual hydrogen peroxide in the mouth, preventing it from causing irritation or damage to the oral tissues.

How To Make Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash At Home?

To make hydrogen peroxide mouthwash at home, mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water in a clean container.

Is It Safe To Gargle With Hydrogen Peroxide And Mouthwash?

Gargling with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and mouthwash can be safe, but it is important to dilute the hydrogen peroxide with water and avoid swallowing the solution.


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