Hydrogen peroxide is staple in many households. Though it has a wide variety of uses, it is generally used as an antiseptic for cleaning minor cuts and wounds.

Among its other beneficial uses are three that are worth noting.

1. Sore throat remedy

Sore throats are often caused by bacterial infections. Since hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria, gargling with hydrogen peroxide can help ease the discomfort of a sore throat by killing the bacteria in the mouth and the throat. Reducing the level of bacteria in the mouth and throat also allows the body to heal more quickly.

2. Prevention of gum disease

Dental plaque contains biofilm, a form of bacteria that is difficult to eliminate. The combination of plaque and bacteria is a major cause of gum disease. Since hydrogen peroxide is a powerful antibacterial agent, it is useful in destroying the bacteria contained in plaque.

In a 2017 randomized study to determine the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide in treating gum disease, a group of participants was divided into two groups: one group received debridement and hydrogen peroxide treatments, while the other group received only debridement. The results of the study demonstrated that the group that received hydrogen peroxide treatments had significantly less gum disease at the end of the study than the control group. Further, gargling with hydrogen peroxide can reach the back of the mouth and other difficult to reach places more easily than other treatments.

3. Teeth Whitening

Since hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, it is useful for whitening teeth. In fact, many toothpastes and mouthwashes contain hydrogen peroxide for this very purpose. Numerous studies on teeth stained from tea and coffee demonstrated that gargling with hydrogen peroxide was able to significantly increase the whiteness of teeth.

Though hydrogen peroxide comes in different strengths and concentrations, the most common concentration available for household use is 3%. When gargling with hydrogen peroxide it is important to avoid any concentration higher than 3%. Further, even with a 3% concentration is important to mix two parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide before gargling.

Generally speaking, hydrogen peroxide is an extremely safe product to use — when used correctly. As mentioned above, concentrations stronger than 3% should never be used. And 3% concentrations need to be diluted before use. Hydrogen peroxide vapors can irritate the eyes and the lungs, so care should be taken when diluting it.

Swallowing hydrogen peroxide can cause stomach irritation. As with all medical products, care should be taken to keep hydrogen peroxide away from the reach of children.

Hydrogen peroxide can provide benefits for us beyond its use as a disinfectant for small cuts. If used properly, it can help us to keep our mouth and our teeth healthy and healthy looking.

Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, is a government-approved PACE program created to provide seniors, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet their health care needs while continuing to live in their community.

Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.

Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.

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