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Hydrogen Peroxide for Teeth - Is It Safe?

November 23 2021

Adding Hydrogen Peroxide to your Oral Health Care Routine

Your smile is your unspoken greeting to the world and the first impression you make when meeting someone new. Your oral health has far-reaching implications on your health as well: keeping a clean mouth reduces illness, slows the spread of bacteria, and protects against infection. So it’s vital to care for your teeth - not just to beautify your smile, but to influence your overall health.

Oral healthcare has advanced tremendously in recent decades: from the advent of electric toothbrushes, deep cleaning astringents, and countless whitening treatments all promising a healthier mouth and whiter teeth. Yet, despite all of these innovations, one time-tested element is essential to a healthy mouth: hydrogen peroxide. Is hydrogen peroxide safe for teeth? Here, we discuss hydrogen peroxide safety, how hydrogen peroxide can help improve your overall oral health, help whiten teeth, and more. 


What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound with disinfectant, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. It is an oxidizing and peroxide agent, meaning that it acts as a bleaching agent. While the scientific name may be intimidating, hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water and oxygen. You likely already have hydrogen peroxide in your medicine cabinet. This colorless liquid is a staple in many first aid kits, as it is an inexpensive and effective antiseptic. 

You may spot hydrogen peroxide in a brown or clear bottle in pharmacies and grocery stores for only a few dollars, making it highly accessible. In addition, the versatile solution has a wide range of applications: from cleaning agent to first aid essential, and even an oral health treatment.


Hydrogen Peroxide for Teeth and Overall Oral Health

The use of hydrogen peroxide by dental professionals to remove plaque and prevent gum disease dates back to 1913. Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent, which acts as an antimicrobial mechanism, inhibiting the spread of bacteria in the mouth. It also acts as a debriding agent, sloughing off plague and breaking through the biofilm slime barrier to fight gum disease and reduce inflammation. In a nutshell: hydrogen peroxide is an all-in-one oral health essential that removes plaque, stops the spread of bacteria, reduces gum inflammation, and even whitens teeth. 


Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe?

It’s reasonable to be wary of introducing new chemicals and cleaning agents to your healthcare routine. Hydrogen peroxide is composed of oxygen and water and is widely regarded as one of the world’s safest natural sanitizers.  You may be surprised to know your products likely already contain hydrogen peroxide, especially if you are using whitening products! It is a common ingredient and is usually safe for topical and oral use. 

Hydrogen peroxide is available in a range of concentrations. The most common hydrogen peroxide solution concentration available at drugstores and grocery stores is 3%. A 3% hydrogen peroxide, also called household hydrogen peroxide, is safe when used as directed. However, be aware that higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can cause inflammation, stomach irritation, and burns - so handle carefully.


You should limit your hydrogen peroxide usage to one treatment at a time to reduce the risk of harm. It is typically safe to swallow small amounts of low concentration hydrogen peroxide, but an even better practice is to spit and rinse after use to limit the amount of time that the compound is on your teeth. It is imperative to pay close attention to how your body reacts to hydrogen peroxide treatments. If you notice irritation, discontinue use immediately. As always, check with your healthcare provider before beginning a new hydrogen peroxide treatment. 


Hydrogen Peroxide How to’s and FAQs

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most common and versatile at-home oral health treatments. In addition to being safe and affordable, hydrogen peroxide is highly effective. With a few simple tweaks, household hydrogen peroxide at a 3% concentration can be transformed into many treatments to deep clean your mouth and whiten your teeth. Keep reading for some of the most commonly asked questions about hydrogen peroxide and easy ways to use it at home as part of your oral health routine.

Can You Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Teeth Whitening?

Hydrogen peroxide is the active whitening ingredient in many teeth whitening products. Many teeth whitening products remove stains, but only products with a bleaching agent such as hydrogen peroxide can truly whiten teeth. GLO Science hydrogen peroxide whitening gel is dentist formulated to whiten several shades without sensitivity. Be sure to look for hydrogen peroxide as an ingredient when selecting a teeth whitening treatment, or integrate hydrogen peroxide into your oral hygiene routine at home.

Can You Gargle with Hydrogen Peroxide?

Gargling with hydrogen peroxide is perhaps the most straightforward treatment to implement at home. This treatment is a natural alternative to mouthwash, and you can use it in place of mouthwash or oral antiseptic rinses. Hydrogen peroxide can disinfect the mouth, reduce gun inflammation, and brighten teeth. Be sure that you are using a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide to ensure your safety. To safely gargle hydrogen peroxide and create hydrogen peroxide mouthwash at home, follow these simple steps:

  1. Do not exceed a concentration of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  2. Dilute the hydrogen peroxide by combining one capful (about 1 tsp) of hydrogen peroxide with an equal amount of warm water
  3. Pour the diluted mixture into your mouth, being careful not to swallow
  4. Swish and gargle the solution for 30 seconds, then spit the solution
  5. Follow with a rinse, if desired

Can hydrogen peroxide bleach and stain?

Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t just whiten teeth - it can also bleach or stain clothing and fabric. Be sure to use care when applying hydrogen peroxide treatments, as they may leave behind stains. If you’re nervous about your treatment, use a white towel or tissue to wipe your mouth after the treatment is applied to avoid bleaching your clothing.

Can you make hydrogen peroxide toothpaste at home?

If you ever find yourself in a pinch and run out of toothpaste, you likely have everything you need to make a safe and effective toothpaste right at home! Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, both inexpensive household staples, make a toothpaste that buffs away stains, freshens breath, and disinfects.

To make a hydrogen peroxide toothpaste at home, follow these simple steps:

  1. Mix one tablespoon hydrogen peroxide with two tablespoons baking soda until soft paste forms. Use a hydrogen peroxide concentration of 3% or less, as a higher concentration may be harmful. 
  2. Dip your toothbrush into the paste to apply 
  3. Brush teeth as normal with the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda toothpaste
  4. Spit and rinse as usual

The Easy Way to Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Teeth Whitening and Oral Health

Your smile is an integral part of your health - so it’s vital to take care of it. Hydrogen peroxide is a safe and effective treatment to keep your mouth clean and brighten your smile. Hydrogen peroxide sloughs away plaque, disinfects, and acts as a bleaching agent to whiten teeth. There are many ways to integrate hydrogen peroxide into your oral hygiene routine, from professional-grade products to at-home DIY teeth whitening solutions. It is simple to create a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash or toothpaste with just a few simple steps. For a brighter, healthier smile, consider adding hydrogen peroxide to your oral care routine today!