The Not So Dirty Truth about Hydrogen Peroxide
In the last few months you may have noticed research emerging about the many household uses of Hydrogen peroxide (H202). This may have prompted you to dig into the back of the medicine cabinet looking for that brown bottle that is covered in dust. Unbeknown to most of us, people have been using H202 for household chores for years. Lets face it, this kind of peroxide is inexpensive and when compared to paying anywhere between $4 to $8 a bottle for leading brands of mouth wash, it’s seems like a no brainer. But is it safe?
First, what exactly is it
According to Absolute Astronomy Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is actually a pale bluish liquid but appears colorless when diluted in aqueous form. More powerful than chlorine, it has strong oxidizing properties due to an increased oxidation potential and hence has found many applications in everyday life ranging from bleaches to antiseptics and even rocket fuel for military ordnance. Yes, rocket fuel; but don’t panic. For that application only 90% grade hydrogen peroxide is used. Hydrogen Peroxide mouthwash should only contain diluted peroxide to 3% grade.
What it does in your mouth
Anytime you use it you experience the “fizzy effect”. According to HowStuffWorks the fizz is result of the Hydrogen Peroxide breaking down to form oxygen and water. It eliminates bacteria through its oxidation damage. Oxidation of cells yields free-radicals which can initiate a chain-reaction ultimately leading to destabilization of the molecular structure and cellular damage. Often bacterial cells lack the necessary reparative mechanisms and die.
So that means its safe
Yes! According to IntelligentDental Hydrogen Peroxide can be safely used as a mouthwash, provided the FDA approved 1%-3% concentration mixed with equal part of water is strictly adhered to. It can be used to treat Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (Trench mouth), gingivitis, plaque, and, in some cases, help to whiten your teeth. It is extremely important to stick to the FDA recommended concentration of 1%-3% that can be bought in drugstores and pharmacies. Using too high a concentration of peroxide is known to cause skin injuries and its ingestion is possibly fatal, especially at 35% concentration. Anything above 3% grade would be considered dangerous to use as mouthwash. You should make sure to adhere to the recommended concentration to avoid negative effects.
How to use it as mouthwash
When using hydrogen peroxide pour a cap full (the white cap on the bottle) and dilute the solution with an equal part of water. After rinsing and swishing it in your mouth, spit all of it out, and be sure to rinse thoroughly with water to remove excess hydrogen peroxide as well as to hydrate the surfaces in the oral cavity.