If you get teeth whitening trays to perform whitening at home, we’ll talk about how it’s bad to get the whitening compound on your gums. Of course, the active ingredient in these whitening gels is peroxide, so it may lead you to wonder whether it’s a good idea to expose your gums to hydrogen peroxide mouthwash as part of your oral hygiene routine.
However, these low concentration hydrogen peroxide rinses are safe for your teeth and gums.
A Safe Dose
For many of the chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis, it’s the concentration that makes the difference between a deadly poison and a useful nutrient. Fluoride, for example, at the levels found in Las Vegas drinking water is safe, but at much higher concentrations it can be toxic. Even oxygen can be toxic at too high concentrations.
And when it comes to peroxide, it’s the same. The concentrated whiteners we use in our office may contain 35% carbamide peroxide, which creates hydrogen peroxide at similar concentrations. This concentration can lead to gum irritation, causing redness and discomfort. But hydrogen peroxide mouthwash contains only 1.5% hydrogen peroxide. At this concentration, peroxide is not harmful to your teeth or gums. (The brown bottles of peroxide that you buy contain 3% hydrogen peroxide, so you’ll have to dilute them half and half with water to make a safe mouthwash.)
But Does It Work?
So is hydrogen peroxide mouthwash really a good way to help ensure your oral health?
A recent review of studies on hydrogen peroxide mouthwash showed that when combined with your normal oral hygiene routine–brushing and flossing–peroxide mouthwash could effectively help reduce your risk of gingivitis–the mild form of gum disease. But it didn’t work as a standalone oral hygiene method, and it doesn’t effectively whiten teeth.