Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash Side Effects & Benefits

Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash

You have heard that gargling hydrogen peroxide is a great way to kill bacteria and viruses in your mouth. It also helps whiten teeth, reduce gum inflammation and even relieve a sore throat. However, hydrogen peroxide mouth wash and bleaching may cause tissue irritation, teeth sensitivity and negatively affect your general dental health.

Why You May Not Benefit From Hydrogen Peroxide

I use hydrogen peroxide mouthwash daily
I use hydrogen peroxide mouthwash daily

There is evidence that hydrogen peroxide is toxic for the cells in the inner part of the teeth or dental pulp.  In fact, over the counter hydrogen peroxide concentrations can sometimes be as high as the formulas that are used by dentists to bleach teeth.  The reason why hydrogen peroxide is effective as a tooth bleaching agent and an antiseptic is because it releases superoxide anions. Nobody knows yet what potential long-term term tooth damage from casual use of high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.

If you ingest undiluted hydrogen peroxide, it can burn your internal organs and even cause bleeding.  Sometimes you may feel some mild stomach pain if you accidently ingest the 3% solution that is commonly available in drug stores. If after gargling hydrogen peroxide you feel dizzy and weak, then you may need to see a doctor. You should not let children gargle hydrogen peroxide because they are likely to swallow it.

What Are Superoxide Anions

Superoxide anions are free radicals that give hydrogen peroxide its bleaching and antiseptic properties. The problem with superoxide anions is that they have the ability to penetrate tooth enamel and dentin and reach the dental pulp. Dental pulp is the inner tooth chamber where the blood vessels and nerves of each tooth are found.

In addition cells called odontoblasts that are responsible for depositing new dentin layers and protect the tooth against conditions like dental carries, are found in the inner tooth chamber.  Hydrogen peroxide kills odontoblasts even if it is used in very low concentrations according to a study published in the Journal of Endodontics in 2013. Lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide have less toxic effects on dental pulp cells.  There is still no evaluation that shows what long-term effects hydrogen peroxide has on the inner tooth.

Hydrogen Peroxide Has Side Effects

Allergic reactions to hydrogen peroxide are rare but their possible occurrence should not be ignored. Some of the allergic reactions include redness, stinging, irritation on the face.  Some people may experience swelling on the face, throat or tongue. Severe side effects may include dizziness, trouble breathing and more. You should call a doctor if you experience serious side effects after using hydrogen peroxide.

How To Gargle Hydrogen Peroxide Safely

Do not swallow hydrogen peroxide whether you are using 3 percent hydrogen peroxide or 35 percent food grade hydrogen peroxide. To safely gargle without swallowing, use the 3 percent hydrogen peroxide that you can find in most drug stores. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water to get 1 percent hydrogen peroxide.  Tilt your head back and take small mouthful of the mixture and gargle and swish around in your mouth for 60 seconds then spit.