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Is Swishing Peroxide Bad For You?

Also Known As: hydrogen peroxide



Short answer

No, swishing with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is not bad for you, if done responsibly. The brown bottle of H2O2 you buy from Walmart or your local drug store is so “watered down” that it more resembles that of water, than it does hydrogen peroxide.



Long answer

Hydrogen peroxide is a well-known microbial antiseptic that has been used topically for more than 100 years.  It was first implemented in dentistry in 1913, as a counter measure to plaque formation on the tooth enamel.  Dental professionals use certain aqueous (mixed with water) solutions of H2O2 for dental hygiene, as a means of routine care.  Only within the last ten years has it become popular for use as a “mouth rinse”.

A canker sore can place significant burdens on a person.  The antibacterial properties of H2O2 help to tremendously shorten the life of canker sores and can even help to limit their reappearance into your life.  When treating a canker sore the recommendation is to mix equal parts water and H2O2 and swish for one to two minutes or use a cotton ball to apply the solution directly to the affected area. 

Bacteria is able to irritate the nerve in a tooth, causing tooth pain.  Rinsing responsibly with hydrogen peroxide can help destroy that bacteria.  However, as H2O2 kills the harmful bacteria that causes tooth decay, it also kills other forms of helpful bacteria.  This is why rinsing with hydrogen peroxide should be done as directed, to ensure optimal mouth health.  Always remember when swishing with H2O2, try not to swallow as it can severely irritate the throat and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. 

Hydrogen peroxide produces very powerful free radical electrons that cause bleaching of the tooth enamel.  This means from a cosmetic point of view that H2O2 is a great asset to your beauty.  However, research has revealed that H2O2 can penetrate through the dentin into the sub-layers of the tooth known as the dental pulp.  Irresponsible use of a hydrogen peroxide can result in damage to the cells that make this area of the tooth.  These cells are responsible for depositing new quantities of dental pulp.   

Be sure that you are using the diluted version of Hydrogen Peroxide in the little brown bottle. The concentration should be somewhere around 3%. This is the appropriate solution for oral use, though it is not intended for daily use.

Possible short-term side effects

  • throat irritation (if swallowed)
  • gi tract irritation (if swallowed)

Possible long-term side effects

  • cell damage to dental pulp

Big is gargling with peroxide bad for you.


  • teeth whitening
  • reduces bacteria
  • relieves pain
  • helps treat canker sores

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Written by DeeAnne Oldham | 08-11-2016

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
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