Should you swish with hydrogen peroxide mouthwash for whiter teeth? According to Dr. Suhail Mohiuddin, DDS, dentist and founder of Dentologie, absolutely not. "Hydrogen peroxide if used as a daily rinse can cause tissue necrosis and chronic inflammation of your gums," Dr. Mohiuddin says in a recent TikTok video in response to a video of another TikToker gargling with hydrogen peroxide straight from the bottle. In short, you can end up with red painful gums, or even death of the tissue inside your mouth.
"As a teeth whitener, it works," he adds. "But it should only be used within a whitening strip or a tray." Dr. Chris Salierno, DDS, chief dental officer at Tend agrees. "Rinsing with peroxide is NOT an FDA-approved whitening method," says Dr. Salierno. "Not only is it dangerous, there are no studies to show that it will actually work."
While hydrogen peroxide is the main active ingredient of most teeth whitening products, it should only be used on teeth via certain delivery methods, like Dr. Mohiuddin recommends. "Hydrogen peroxide is a potent chemical bleach and does have the capacity to leach calcium salts from our enamel if used too frequently or improperly," Heather Kunen, DDS, an orthodontist at Beam St says. "If used sparingly and according to the instructions of a given product and your provider, hydrogen peroxide is safe and effective to use for the whitening of our teeth."
If you're looking for an at-home method to whiten your teeth, both Dr. Salierno and Dr. Kunen recommend an at-home whitening kit to deliver a safe and effective amount of hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth, or pay your local dentist a visit for even better results.
"[Your dentist] can assess the cause and severity of your staining/discoloration and advise you on the best method for you, including in-office and at-home options," says Dr. Salierno. "Some people just need a good cleaning and their teeth will get noticeably whiter."
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