When you think of things that expire, the first products that probably pop into your head are foods like meat, dairy, and vegetables. You may be surprised to learn that oral hygiene products also expire, so all of those old tubes of toothpaste that you’ve collected under your sink probably should be thrown away. Even though using expired at-home dental products won’t impact you the same way that food will, it won’t properly clean your mouth the way that it’s supposed to. Read on to learn about some oral hygiene products that expire.
Harmful Oral Bacteria and Expired Products
When harmful oral bacteria accumulate in your mouth, it can cause a variety of oral health problems from cavities to infections. Keeping up with your oral hygiene helps you control the number of these bacteria and prevent issues. When you use expired products, the active ingredient isn’t as effective, meaning you won’t have proper protection against cavities, gum disease, and dental decay. The best way to keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape is to take a look at how long you can use certain products and learn when they stop being as effective.
You forgot to stop at the store to buy a new tube of toothpaste, so after rummaging underneath your bathroom sink, it’s a relief to find an unopened one. Before you use it, make sure that it’s within 2 years of the expiration date printed on the packaging. After this period, the fluoride will fade, and you won’t get that minty-fresh smell or taste that helps combat bad breath. When the fluoride becomes less effective, it will increase your risk of developing common oral health problems because it won’t stick to your teeth and fight plaque as well.
Luckily, if you find a few packs of dental floss while you’re clearing out your bathroom, there’s no need to throw them away because this product doesn’t expire. Keep in mind though, the mint flavor does go away after a year or so, so you will be missing out on that fresh post-flossing breath.
While an unopened toothbrush never expires, once you begin using it, it’s best to replace it after 3 months of use. Bacteria will start to accumulate on the brush and can transfer to your mouth causing sickness or oral health problems. Also, when the bristles become less effective at cleaning because they’re frayed or broken, plaque won’t be cleared as effectively.
Antibacterial Mouth Rinse
After a couple of years past the manufacture date, the alcohol or antiseptic ingredient found in mouthwash will dissolve and the product won’t be as effective at reducing the number of harmful bacteria. It pretty much just becomes a water-based mouth rinse after this time period because that’s what remains once the other ingredients dissipate.
Practicing excellent oral hygiene can help you avoid headaches and dental dilemmas in the future. Keeping informed about the best way to use oral hygiene products can help you achieve optimal teeth and gum health. If you have any questions or would like some recommendations for products to use, be sure to consult your dentist!
About the Author
Dr. Greg Friedman has been helping patients achieve optimal oral health and avoid dental problems since 1990. He utilizes the latest dental technology and treatments so he can provide his patients with the best quality of care. He focuses on providing every person that walks through his doors with an environment where they feel like their needs, anxieties, and wants are understood. For questions or to schedule a routine checkup and cleaning, visit Mod Squad Dental’s website or contact 858-547-0070.