hydrogen peroxide teeth
Using hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening products are generally safe when used in lower concentrations and less frequently.

Although teeth whitening hydrogen peroxide has been declared safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are still some risks of side effects.

Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent that can help whiten teeth. Many over-the-counter tooth whitening toothpaste and products have a good amount of hydrogen peroxide in them; however, they must not be used over a concentration of three percent.

Studies have shown that hydrogen peroxide can be used to whiten teeth but at a great cost to the tooth enamel. Overuse of hydrogen peroxide may cause gum irritation and tooth decay. When used sparingly (two times a week) and at concentrations no more than three percent, it is generally safe.

4 benefits of hydrogen peroxide for oral health

  1. Eases toothache
    • Try putting a capful of three percent hydrogen peroxide diluted with an equal amount of water in your mouth, rinse thoroughly, and spit it out.
    • Much of the pain associated with toothaches are caused by swelling and infection, which hydrogen peroxide can help combat.
    • However, this is only a temporary solution, and you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
  2. May help treat gingivitis
    • Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent germ-killing agent, especially in the case of gingivitis.
    • Swish an ounce of three percent hydrogen peroxide vigorously after flossing and brushing your teeth, making sure to get all of the gum lines, including behind the upper lip.
    • Swish for five to six seconds, then spit out the chemical and rinse with water.
  3. Toothpaste substitute
    • Brush your teeth with a mixture of one part hydrogen peroxide to four parts baking soda. It might be a little grittier than you are used to, but it works pretty much the same.
  4. Mouthwash
    • Many use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash because it is a strong disinfectant that prevents canker sores and mouth wounds from becoming infected, allowing for faster healing.
    • If you have a sore throat, you can relieve it by using three percent hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash. Its antibacterial properties can help fight bacterial infections that cause sore throats.
    • Furthermore, when your mucus comes into contact with hydrogen peroxide, it produces foam. The foam makes the mucus less sticky, allowing it to drain more easily.

Most dentists recommend cleaning your toothbrush one time a week in a freshly poured cup of hydrogen peroxide because it kills the germs. Additionally, using hydrogen peroxide in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing reduces gum inflammation.

4 side effects of hydrogen peroxide for oral health

  1. Rinsing with undiluted hydrogen peroxide can cause damage to tooth enamel and the oral cavity.
  2. You may notice redness around your gums and irritation inside your mouth the first time you gargle with hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Though the use of hydrogen peroxide is not particularly hazardous, mild teeth sensitivity and gum pain are common.
  4. A rare side effect of using hydrogen peroxide is throat soreness.

Hydrogen peroxide studies have concluded that it is safe to use in appropriate concentrations for teeth whitening. Any hydrogen peroxide-containing gel whitening formulation must adhere to the safety standards of the American Dental Association and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Check with your dentist to ensure both optimal and safe results when using any whitening treatment. Your dentist can ensure that hydrogen peroxide is used safely and thoroughly, as well as answer any other questions you may have about it.

How does hydrogen peroxide whiten the teeth?

Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing and disinfecting agent. It is effective because it can break down the complex molecules that cause staining of the teeth.

Dentists can use whitening strips and gels with a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide because of the safety features included in their whitening treatments.

Is hydrogen peroxide effective against viruses like COVID-19 as a disinfectant?

Hydrogen peroxide kills a wide variety of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeast, fungi, and spores.

When used on inanimate surfaces, commercially available three percent hydrogen peroxide is a stable and effective disinfectant. It has been used to disinfect ventilators, fabrics, and endoscopes at concentrations ranging from three to six percent.

Hydrogen peroxide is on the Environmental Protection Agency's list of antimicrobials that are effective against COVID-19.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/3/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Dexter A, Eyrumlu A, Hedrick D, Guirguis P. Hydrogen Peroxide for Teeth Whitening: Is It Safe and Does It Work? Dentaly.org. https://www.dentaly.org/us/teeth-whitening/peroxide-teeth-whitening/

Walsh LJ. Safety issues relating to the use of hydrogen peroxide in dentistry. Aust Dent J. 2000 Dec;45(4):257-69; quiz 289. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1834-7819.2000.tb00261.x

Cleveland Clinic. What Is Hydrogen Peroxide Good For? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-hydrogen-peroxide-good-for/