When you come in for teeth whitening, you probably notice how careful we are to make sure we don’t get any of the active solution on your gums, or if, we’re giving you a take-home whitening system, we’ll mention that you should try not to get it on your gums. If you know that the active ingredient in teeth whitening is peroxide, you may wonder whether it’s safe, then, to use a peroxide-based mouthwash when it will wash all over your gums.
Low-concentration hydrogen peroxide rinses are safe to use for at-home care.
The Dose Makes the Poison
When it comes to many things, it’s the dose that matters, not just the composition. At high levels, cyanide is a deadly poison. At low levels, it gives California almonds their delicious flavor. And that’s the way it is with peroxide. The concentrated whiteners that dentists use contain 25%, 35%, or more of carbamide peroxide, which quickly changes into hydrogen peroxide. At these high levels, peroxide is likely to irritate your gum tissue, causing redness and discomfort.
On the other hand, the hydrogen peroxide that you buy in bottles at the store has a concentration of 3%. To use it as a mouthwash, mix it half-and-half with water, and you end up with a relatively low concentration mouthwash.
But Does It Work?
So now the next question is whether hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is actually worth it. A 2011 review of research about hydrogen peroxide mouthwash gave mixed results. As a rinse to combat the growth of plaque by itself, hydrogen peroxide was kind of a bust–it made little difference.
But if you are using hydrogen peroxide mouthwash as part of your normal oral hygiene routine (brushing and flossing), it can help reduce gingivitis, the mild form of gum disease.
And if you are hoping for whitening effects, it seems that most people don’t get satisfactory whitening with this type of mouthwash.
Want help maintaining healthy, attractive teeth? Please call 310-275-5325 today for an appointment with a Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist at Ravon Knopf.