Is It Safe to Gargle With Hydrogen Peroxide?
Peroxides are a group of compounds that work well as cleaning agents. Healthcare professionals have been using peroxide for various purposes for decades. In fact, dentists have been using peroxides to treat gum infections safely and effectively since 1913.
Hydrogen peroxide is the most common peroxide in use today. The handy liquid serves as a mild antiseptic on the skin to prevent infection of minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria, viruses, yeasts, fungi, and mold spores. Even today, dentists often recommend using hydrogen peroxide to improve oral health.
Gargling with Hydrogen Peroxide
Gargling with hydrogen peroxide can help with a number of oral issues, including gum inflammation and sore throat. Swishing with hydrogen peroxide can even whiten your teeth.
Gargling with hydrogen peroxide is easier than you might think. To maximize the effects of hydrogen peroxide – and to use it safely – you must first dilute it. The familiar brown bottle found in stores contains 3% hydrogen peroxide, which is too strong for oral use. Dilute 3% hydrogen peroxide to 1% by mixing two parts water with one part hydrogen peroxide. You can mix ½ cup of water with ¼ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide, for example, to create 1% hydrogen peroxide that is safe to use in your mouth; anything stronger is likely to cause irritation.
Next, tilt your head back and take a small mouthful of the diluted hydrogen peroxide. Gargle and swish the diluted solution in your mouth for about 60 seconds. Spit out the diluted hydrogen peroxide – do not swallow it.
Hydrogen Peroxide for Oral Health
Dentists have been using hydrogen peroxide to improve patients’ oral health for more than a century because it works – the inexpensive and stable solution safely prevents infections, reduces gum inflammation, and whitens teeth.
Hydrogen peroxide helps promote healing and prevention of canker sores and other small mouth wounds by reducing bacteria in the mouth. Simply dip a cotton swab into the diluted hydrogen and rub it gently on the canker sore or oral wound. Spit out any excess hydrogen peroxide, and be sure to avoid swallowing any.
Gargling with hydrogen peroxide can help reduce gum inflammation, especially when combined with regular brushing and flossing. When you swish hydrogen peroxide around in your mouth while gargling, the hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen that helps destroy bacteria. The presence of oxygen kills the anaerobic bacteria that cause gum disease and inflammation.
Hydrogen peroxide can even whiten your teeth. The oxygen released by hydrogen peroxide can pass easily into the enamel of your teeth, where it can break down stain-causing molecules and leave behind whiter, brighter teeth. To gain the full, long-lasting whitening effect, you will need to gargle with hydrogen peroxide consistently over the course of about three months.
For faster results, you can use whitening gels with 10% carbamide peroxide, which are significantly more effective at whitening. The best teeth whitening is done at your dentist, who can use stronger solutions and advanced procedures to white your teeth.
Hydrogen Peroxide for Sore Throat
Gargling with hydrogen peroxide helps soothe a sore throat. The antibacterial properties of hydrogen peroxide kill the bacteria that can cause sore throats. The bubbling action – caused by the release of oxygen – can help loosen mucus that often accompanies sore throats.
Risks of Gargling Hydrogen Peroxide
There are some risks associated with gargling with hydrogen peroxide. Swallowing hydrogen peroxide can irritate the tissues in your throat; swallowing undiluted hydrogen peroxide can even burn the organs of your digestive tract and cause bleeding there. Swallowing even a small amount can cause stomach pain and possible vomiting.
Gargling with hydrogen peroxide can help with a sore throat and gum inflammation, and can help whiten your teeth. For best results and safe use, dilute brown bottle 3% hydrogen peroxide with water, and never swallow the solution.
For more information about using hydrogen peroxide at home, talk with the dentists at Williams and Daily.
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.