Mouthwash expiration is something that’s overlooked by many. It gets thrown into the back of our medicine cabinet, out of sight and mind. We use it when we’re sick to make our breath feel fresh and get rid of the mouth odor. But when do we need to use it? Is it bad if you stock up on some antibacterial mouthwash to keep around your house? Let’s find out!
It’s a question you’ve probably asked yourself but never really looked into. You might assume that it’s still acceptable to use as long as it smells and tastes normal. But is that the case? Here’s some more information on the topic.
Mouthwash doesn’t come with an expiration date stamped on the bottle, so it can be hard to tell when you should toss it out. It can also be hard to tell if your mouthwash has been around long enough to expire in the first place.
The answer is yes, it does. Like most other products, mouthwash contains bacteria that grows over time, even when stored in a cool, dry place. While this doesn’t mean mouthwash is unsafe to use after a certain amount of time has passed, it could lead to decreased product effectiveness over time. After all, its purpose is to kill bacteria—so it makes sense that using expired mouthwash could mean you’re using something that’s not quite as strong as the manufacturer intended for you to use!
How long does mouthwash last? That depends on what ingredients are in the product you buy and how well they work together against bacteria growth.
What Is The Purpose Of Mouthwash?
There are many different types of mouthwashes, but they all serve a similar purpose: to rinse away the debris that brushing and flossing can’t get.
While brushing your teeth and flossing are essential parts of an oral care regimen, they might not be able to remove all of the food particles that get lodged between your teeth or on your tongue. These leftovers can collect bacteria, causing bad breath, plaque buildup, and tooth decay.
Mouthwash is designed to wash away these leftover pieces and bacteria. It can help reduce bad breath and prevent plaque buildup. It also can help strengthen teeth by adding extra fluoride or other minerals to the mouth.
If you want to keep your smile healthy and white, mouthwash can be a great addition to your oral hygiene routine.
Can We Use Expired Mouthwash?
Who among us hasn’t been tempted to use a mouthwash past its expiration date? Maybe you’ve just finished the last of your Listerine, and there’s a bottle of Scope sitting on your bathroom shelf that expired long ago. Or maybe you’re packing up all your things to move, and you’re torn between throwing out an old bottle of Scope or just taking it with you, so you don’t have to buy new mouthwash for a few months.
But is this safe? How do we know when it’s okay to use expired mouthwash? Let’s put these questions to rest.
Mouthwash typically has an expiration date of about three years after production or one year after opening. Some mouthwashes may have longer shelf lives than others, and some may have shorter ones. Check the label: if your mouthwash bottle has no date on it, then it should be good for at least a year.
The surest way to tell if your mouthwash is still usable is by looking at and smelling it. If it smells fine and looks like it usually does, use it! If it smells bad or looks discolored, then don’t use it—it’s probably unsafe for consumption.
Does The Potency Of Mouthwash Decrease After A While?
The short answer is: yes, the potency of mouthwash does decrease after a while.
Since most mouthwashes contain alcohol, they’re highly susceptible to evaporation. The more you use your mouthwash, the more you’ll expose it to heat, making it evaporate faster.
So, if you’d like your mouthwash to maintain its potency for as long as possible, keep it tightly sealed and in a cool place (ideally in the fridge).
How Often Should You Use Mouthwash?
If you’re looking to improve your dental hygiene and oral health, you might consider integrating mouthwash into your daily routine. Research shows that rinsing with mouthwash can help kill bacteria, reduce plaque and tooth decay, and improve bad breath. But how often should you use mouthwash?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), once or twice a day is plenty. Any more than that could cause problems because too much of the chemicals in mouthwash could irritate your gums and weaken tooth enamel. This can lead to increased sensitivity, receding gums, and even tooth decay—the things you’re hoping to prevent with regular mouthwash.
So what’s the best time of day to use mouthwash?
The ADA says it’s usually best to use it after brushing twice a day—once in the morning and once before bedtime. The only exception is if you eat foods or drink beverages that stain your teeth, like red wine and coffee. In this case, it’s okay to rinse with a bit of water after enjoying these kinds of drinks or meals.
What Will Happen If I Use Mouthwash That Has Expired?
The answer depends on the nature of the expiration date. If your mouthwash has expired, you should check if the expiration date refers to the product’s effectiveness or safety. You should also consider how long it took for your mouthwash to expire.
If the expiration date refers specifically to the safety of using the mouthwash, you should not use it after that date, as there’s a chance that using expired mouthwash could lead to infections or illness. If your mouthwash does not have an expiration date, you shouldn’t use it.
On the other hand, if the expiration date refers more to quality than safety, you may be able to use expired mouthwash without any issues.
The short answer is, yes, mouthwash does expire. (In fact, most pharmaceuticals do.) Your mouthwash has a best-use-by date, which means it’s perfectly safe to use after this date. Once you hit the best-use-by date on your mouthwash, toss it, and don’t keep using it. After all, it was meant to make your mouth feel fresh for about one year—it’s not going to do its job correctly once it’s old.
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