Cleaning the mouth or the brush with hydrogen peroxide, is it safe?

You may have heard that hydrogen peroxide is good for taking care of your mouth or for cleaning your toothbrush. But is it safe to use?

Last update: June 09, 2022

It is common to hear advice or find homemade recipes on the internet that promote the use of hydrogen peroxide in the mouth or as a method to clean the toothbrush. The rationale is that this substance has disinfectant, antiseptic and whitening properties that can be used in the oral cavity.

But not all the benefits of this liquid are beneficial in the mouth. Even its domestic use can involve some risks. In this article we clarify what it is used for and if these practices are safe for health. Find out more.

What is hydrogen peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide is what we popularly know as “hydrogen peroxide”. It’s about a chemical compound with disinfectant, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is common to find it in home medicine cabinets, since it is used to clean skin wounds.

It is available in different concentrations. However, the one that is usually marketed in pharmacies is usually 3%. When used as directed by a professional, it is generally safe.

As far as oral health is concerned, its antiseptic action is beneficial only in specific cases. For example, It can complement the treatment of periodontitis or some endodontic procedures. In other cases, it can cause unwanted damage.

Similarly, it is an active ingredient in many products used for teeth whitening treatments. For this reason, some people believe that it is possible to use it in the mouth to improve its appearance. However, as we will tell you later, this is quite risky and the results may not be as expected.

It is common to find recommendations on the use of hydrogen peroxide for the mouth and to clean the toothbrush. This practice became more popular at the time of the coronavirus pandemic, in order to reduce germs on the bristles of the hygiene element.

Now that we know what hydrogen peroxide is, we will tell you about its possible uses in the mouth and toothbrush, and how safe they are.

Hydrogen peroxide has certain benefits for oral health. However, its domestic use can be dangerous.

Toothbrush cleaning with hydrogen peroxide

Toothbrush cleaning is an issue that concerns many people. Using this contaminated instrument in the oral cavity implies the possibility of carrying debris and germs that could make us sick.

The daily exposure of your sows to food debris and bacteria present in the mouth makes proper hygiene important. In addition, the brush can become contaminated with particles from the environment, germs from the bathroom or that develop from the humidity of the bristles.

But according to the American Dental Association (ADA), to clean it properly just rinse it under a stream of clean water and then let it air dry in an upright position. No other antiseptic or antibacterial products are necessary.

What is important is the replacement of the brush every 3 or 4 months; or sooner, if there is evidence of impairment. It is also recommended to discard it after having suffered from an infectious disease.

Despite this, some people prefer to do a more extreme cleaning and make sure your brush is spotless. For this, they resort to antiseptics such as chlorhexidine, pills to clean the prostheses or boiling water. Among these options, hydrogen peroxide appears.

It is a cheap and effective option when it comes to disinfecting and keeping the toothbrush clean. It consists of immersing the head in a glass with 3% hydrogen peroxide and letting it rest for a few minutes. Then it should be rinsed and allowed to dry.

As we said, this type of cleaning is not necessary. But if you choose to do it anyway, it is suggested to do it once a week or less frequently. When in doubt about the conditions and cleanliness of the toothbrush, the best option is always to change it for a new one.

Uses of hydrogen peroxide in the mouth

Aside from toothbrush cleaning, hydrogen peroxide is sometimes used inside the mouth. In some specific cases, this liquid is used by the dentist for specific therapeutic purposes.

But when it is used at home, without the indication or supervision of the dentist, there can be negative effects on health. Inflammation of the mucous membranes and damage to dental enamel, fillings and crowns are some examples.

Here we tell you the ways to use hydrogen peroxide in the mouth and what you should know about it.

Hydrogen peroxide to rinse the mouth

Hydrogen peroxide, being a liquid, can be used to swish in the mouth. But In no way should it be used as it is purchased from the pharmacy. Its action could irritate and cause burns to the oral mucosa or erode tooth surfaces.

The dentist may suggest the use of this product combined with other ingredients to make mouthwashes, which help reduce inflammation of the gums in cases of gingivitis and periodontitis. The professional indicates to the patient the concentration and the appropriate amount to avoid adverse effects.

Usually, the concentration must not exceed 3%. Therefore, it is necessary to dilute it in water. In addition, its permanence in the mouth must be for short periods.

Hydrogen peroxide helps fight gingivitis through the release of oxygen, which prevents the development of anaerobic bacteria that cause the disease. Likewise, it allows reaching areas of difficult access and breaking the bacterial plaque films, even within the periodontal pockets.

In the market you can also find dental mouthwashes that contain hydrogen peroxide as one of its components. In this case, pure hydrogen peroxide would not be used, but rather combined with other ingredients.

These rinses are usually indicated to maintain and prolong the effects of teeth whitening treatments. For safety, it is important to choose those products that contain the seal of approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, for its acronym in English).

In the last times, mouthwashes with hydrogen peroxide took on a new utility. At the time of the coronavirus pandemic, some dentists suggested that patients rinse with an antiseptic before attending dental appointments.

This in order to reduce the viral load present in the mouth and reduce the risk of contagion. After all, hydrogen peroxide is an accessible and economical preventive option.

homemade toothpastes

The interest in natural remedies and cosmetics has been increasing in recent times. Among the homemade recipes to make a toothpaste the combination of hydrogen peroxide with sodium bicarbonate is usually suggested until the desired consistency is achieved.

You should know that this is one of the most dangerous ways to use hydrogen peroxide in your mouth. This mixture wears down tooth enamel and causes irreversible abrasion, since the removed tooth tissue is not recovered. Also, it irritates the gums.

hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth

Achieving a white and radiant smile is the wish of many people who are interested in the aesthetics of their mouth. For this reason, teeth whitening treatments They are one of the most popular dental procedures today.

When the teeth look yellow and stained, the ideal is to seek professional help to have the procedure performed by a dentist. In-office whitening will achieve noticeable results and reduce the risk of unwanted effects.

Products used by dentists to whiten teeth may contain hydrogen peroxide. However, this It does not mean that they use the hydrogen peroxide that is bought in pharmacies.

Depending on the clinical case, the dentist chooses the most appropriate concentration for the patient and also the treatment modality. Sometimes the product is placed in the office or by the patient at her home, according to the professional’s instructions. Both forms can even be combined.

Now, in the market you can find many whitening options to do at home. Many contain hydrogen peroxide in different concentrations. The problem is that its results are usually not very evident or long-lasting. In fact, its unsupervised use carries several risks.

The same goes for the homemade recipes that abound on the Internet. Its combination of acidic and abrasive substances —including hydrogen peroxide— tends to wear down tooth enamel. Thus, instead of whitening the teeth, it damages them. In addition, if they contact the gums they can irritate them.

Risks of using hydrogen peroxide on the brush or in the mouth

We have already told you about the possible uses of hydrogen peroxide in the mouth and to clean the toothbrush. And we have clarified that the most advisable thing is Do not use this product unless directed by your dentist.

And it is that although it has properties that can be used for health, it must be used with knowledge and precision. Otherwise, it may lead to undesirable and hazardous health effects. Next, we tell you about some of them:

  • Irritates the gums and mucous membranes of the mouth: the skin of the mouth is very sensitive. Frequent, prolonged, or high concentration exposure to this product may cause injury or irritation.
  • Damages tooth enamel: exposing the tooth surface to high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, using the product regularly or for a long time wears down the enamel. By removing this protective layer, people experience sensitivity and pain. In addition, they are more at risk of future cavities.
  • Can stain teeth: Contrary to expectations, the abrasive effect of hydrogen peroxide on the teeth wears down the surface enamel. This reveals the innermost layers of the tooth, which have a yellowish color.
  • Its intake can be dangerous: It may be okay to accidentally swallow some hydrogen peroxide. But taking small doses on a regular basis can damage the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, leading to ulcers or changes in the intestinal flora.
  • Damages crowns, fillings or dental implants: In the same way that hydrogen peroxide wears down teeth, it can damage filling materials or dentures.
Improper use of hydrogen peroxide can lead to damage to tooth enamel and yellow stains.

Hydrogen peroxide to clean the mouth and toothbrush

Hydrogen peroxide has health benefits, including oral health, as long as it is used responsibly and only when necessary. As we told you, it helps treat periodontitis and is a key ingredient for whitening teeth. But its easy access can lead to improper use.

When it comes to wanting to improve the health and appearance of the mouth, The best option is always to seek advice from your trusted dentist. Professional advice will help you choose the products that best suit your needs and use them safely.

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