Are you due for your next bathroom cabinet cleanout? Well, with those old hand creams and skin care items, do not forget to check the expiration dates on your mouthwash bottle. Yes, like any other product, mouthwash does expire! It has a shelf life that ensures safety and effectiveness during use. Usually, over-the-counter and prescription mouthwashes can have an expiration date printed on the bottle. However, if it is not, expect it to last anywhere between 2-3 years.

How Long Does Mouthwash Last?

Mouthwashes are an integral part of the oral hygiene care regime and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They have set the standards that mouthwash manufacturers have to follow to estimate the usefulness and shelf life of their products. Companies comply with regulations by testing the product under specified conditions and documenting their results, including the drug’s stability profile.

Mouthwash stability tests determine how long the active ingredients in a product can maintain their potency. Some ingredients decompose and lose their functionality much faster than others, which is the main reason why different formulations of mouthwash made at the same time may have expiry dates.

Benefits Of Using A Mouthwash

It is crucial to use a mouthwash well before the expiry date written to take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Freshening breath
  • Food debris removal
  • Cavity protection
  • Sensitivity reduction
  • Fights gum disease
  • Reducing dry mouth
  • Potentially maintain the effects of professional teeth whitening

Additionally, mouthwash prevents cavities, helps in clearing up canker sores, lessens plaque buildup, kills bacteria, and leaves a refreshing feeling in your mouth. However, do keep in mind that using this cannot replace or is not an alternative to regular brushing and flossing.

Adverse Effects Of Using An Expired Mouthwash

Using a mouthwash that has passed its expiry date can have multiple adverse effects on your oral health. Some of the common ones are listed below:

  1. Reduced Therapeutic Effectiveness: Expired mouthwash is ineffective and does not function properly. It does not adequately remove plaque from teeth, gums, and mouth, making it useless for fighting cavities, gum disease, and other oral conditions.
  2. Bacterial Growth: A mouthwash has multiple elements in it, and the inactive ones from your expired mouthwash may promote bacterial growth in your mouth instead of killing them, leading to infections.
  3. Potential Harmful Effects: While an expired mouthwash may not cause immediate harm, it results in minor discomforts and buildup issues that may turn severe in the long run.
  4. Loss of Effectiveness: As time passes, the active ingredients in mouthwash degrade. This is the main reason why its potency and therapeutic effects are reduced to a considerable extent. Moreover, if they are kept in direct heat or sunlight, it accelerates this breakdown process, making the mouthwash less effective
  5. Changes in Appearance: When the active ingredient in your mouthwash degrades after its expiry date, you will see changes like color deviation, consistency, or the presence of particles.

Closing Note

Make sure to check the date of manufacture and expiry before you invest in a mouthwash to prevent risks of adverse effects. We hope that this blog serves its purpose of answering most of your queries. If you have concerns or want to know more about a cavity on your tooth, get in touch with Dr. Rosita Hamidi, a graduate of the University of Texas Dental Branch, Houston, at Smile Time Dental. Visit our clinic or call (281) 245-0711 to schedule a same-day appointment.

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