February 2, 2018
When it comes to expiration dates, it’s natural to think of foods, drinks or other perishable items, but in regard to dental products, how do you know what’s an allowable range to stay within for use? This question and others your dentist in Plano has taken on to provide clarity so that you can practice effective and safe oral hygiene.
How Do Bacteria Affect the Expiration of Dental Products?
In most conversations about expiration, decay or degradation of a product, the real center of attention are bacteria because they facilitate the breakdown of material. But as it applies to dental products, what factors more is the weakening of the ingredients over time. The result is that the products lose their effectiveness.
How Expiration Affects Toothpaste
Before using toothpaste it’s best to make sure that you’re within 2 years of the printed expiration date. It’s because after this period, the flavor and fluoride fade. Therefore, you’ll miss out on the minty taste and the fluoride won’t stick to your teeth, which lessens the plaque-fighting capabilities of your toothpaste.
Does Floss Expire?
Thankfully, floss never expires. While its effectiveness doesn’t wane, the mint flavor does subside after a year, so to get the full experience of a pleasant cleaning, be mindful of that period.
An unopened toothbrush never expires, but once you start using it, you should discard it after 3 to 4 months. This is because bacteria will begin to collect on it and can cause sickness or undesirable oral conditions over time. Furthermore, if you’ve gotten sick at any time, no matter how long you’ve had the toothbrush, you should toss it.
Does Mouthwash Expire?
To get the best results, it’s suggested that you use mouthwash within 2 to 3 years of the posted manufacture date. Most mouthwashes contain alcohol or another form of antiseptic, but the mixture still contains a high percentage of water. Thus, after 2 to 3 years the antiseptic starts to dissolve, leaving mainly water and greatly decreased effectiveness.
When you engage in oral hygiene you want to get the most for your time and energy. Therefore, having knowledge of how long your dental products will remain the most effective will ensure that you get the results that you are looking for.
If you have other questions about how to enhance your oral hygiene, reach out to your children’s dentist of Plano to schedule your first visit.
About the Author
A graduate of the Baylor College of Dentistry, Christopher Pollard, DDS has been over 25 years as a dentist. An active member of the Texas Dental Association and several other professional organizations, he practices at Dental Renaissance Family and Cosmetic Dentistry and can be reached for more information through his website.
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