When pure, hydrogen peroxide is colourless and slightly thicker than water. When we breathe, small traces of hydrogen peroxide are produced and lactating mothers produce it in milk to protect the developing tooth enamel of their infants.
Because of its properties, hydrogen peroxide has for a long time been used as a mouthwash compound in dentistry to kill disease-causing bacteria. However, before use, precaution must be observed as explained below.
Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash
Watch this video to understand how to use hydrogen peroxide safely as a mouth wash.
Hydrogen Peroxide is acidic and can harm gums and teeth enamel if not properly used. The following guidelines should be considered for safe oral rinsing, especially when using it in a teeth whitening situation.
Ensure you have the recommended hydrogen peroxide (usually 3%) in a cup
Floss between teeth then with a soft bristled tooth brush, brush your teeth clean, in circular motions then tongue for approximately 3 minutes
Pour a little hydrogen peroxide in a cup (usually 3%) and dilute to reduce its concentration
Swish this mixture around your mouth; maybe once or twice for approximately 1 minute to kill bacteria. Alternatively, spray peroxide on your gums after diluting it with water
Gargle the solution for about 30 seconds then spit in the sink. Gargling gets Hydrogen Peroxide in contact with the rear of your mouth and throat (be careful not to swallow hydrogen peroxide when using it as a mouthwash)
Rinse your mouth with a lot of water so as to dilute any remaining peroxide
Chew sugarless gum or use mint flavor to get rid of any remaining unpleasant taste or odour
It’s advisable to practice gargling before trying it with Hydrogen Peroxide; this way you will be certain not to swallow it accidentally. Again, do not allow children to gargle peroxide and always dilute it before use. Lastly, before using any bleach or mouth wash ensure to consult with your dentist if you are unsure of anything.
When used as required, hydrogen peroxide can be very effective in killing disease causing bacteria in your mouth. One side effect is that it can cause teeth sensitivity, damage your teeth enamel and even gums when recommended precautions and guidelines are not adhered to. The following explains both the advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen peroxide mouthwash:
Advantages of Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash
Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic solution for when used as a mouthwash. It has the capability to kill disease causing bacteria and germs that might lead to the development of halitosis (foul breath), gum disease and teeth decay. With the use of hydrogen peroxide, these dental problems can be prevented.
Hydrogen peroxide usage for mouth rinsing is actually risk free. Even when accidentally swallowed in small amounts, it should not be harmful. After use, it is usually advised to rinse your mouth then spit out.
Again, mouth washing with Hydrogen Peroxide compound is very easy. It only requires swishing a small amount (approximately 1-3%) in your mouth then spitting out after which you rinse your mouth. Sometimes 3% might be a bit strong for some people, therefore, watering it down a bit to give 1.5% is recommended.
Apart from it being used as a mouth wash to kill bacteria, hydrogen peroxide is also known to:
Form primitive, yet very effective teeth whitening paste when mixed with baking soda
Disinfect cuts (minor ones-although this is yet to be proved) and keep away oral sores
Whiten teeth since it contains bleaching properties
Compared to other mouthwash solutions, Hydrogen peroxide is relatively cheap. Because of this, many people actually have it in their medicine cabinets making it to be readily available whenever need arises.
Disadvantages of Hydrogen Peroxide Mouth Wash
In as much as it is risk free when using safely, hydrogen peroxide can accidentally be swallowed. If a lot of it is swallowed, serious complications may arise i.e. unsettled stomach and burning of the gastrointestinal tract not to forget vomiting. It can also cause skin irritation if it comes to contact with your skin
Although this can be taken care of by chewing gum and multiple mouth rinses, some people still do not like it because of the unpleasant bitter taste it leaves in the mouth. This plus its odour can occasionally cause people with sensitive gag reflexes to gag, unlike alcohol based mouth washes that are flavoured to ‘mask’ the alcohol smell
It is acknowledged that Gargling hydrogen peroxide is excellent for lessening throat bacterial effects. This and mouth washing are both processes that require time. It therefore calls for patience, dedication and persistent use for desired results. (Hydrogen Peroxide does not provide results immediately)
Again, most dentists have opposite opinions on the purported negative effects that do not yet have any medical or research background. In fact, most Hydrogen peroxide mouth wash opinions are based on personal experiences and feedback from patients
Being acidic, hydrogen peroxide can cause serious harm to gums and teeth enamel when not used as required. Again, if used without diluting, it may cause teeth sensitivity
Hydrogen peroxide is a very safe compound when used in the right way. However, some people may be sensitive to it or there might not be many advantages to using it. Therefore, it is always advisable to seek professional dental advice before considering using hydrogen peroxide.