Open your refrigerator and you might find foods or beverages that have been there long past the expiration date. Some are probably safe for a short time longer, but others need to be thrown out sooner rather than later for the health and safety of your family. But what about dental products? Did you even know that they have expiration dates, too? Fact of the matter is they do, and they are worth paying attention to. Here’s some helpful advice from a family dentist in Springfield.
When should you buy a new tube of toothpaste? Answer: when your old tube is about to run out. That way you won’t have to go rummaging to find an old tube that was last used during your summer vacation in 2014!
Outdated toothpaste is not dangerous to use, however after two years that minty flavor and the efficacy of fluoride begin to weaken. So, your mouth won’t be as fresh and fluoride won’t stick to your teeth as well, giving plaque a better chance to cause trouble such as cavities and gum disease.
The good news in that floss never expires. But after a year, mint-flavored floss will lose some of its refreshing taste.
If you leave a toothbrush in its packaging, then it is good to go at anytime. However, once you start using a toothbrush, it becomes less effective as the weeks and months go by. Therefore, throw out your toothbrush when the bristles start to fray, which is typically after three or four months of use.
It takes a long time for mouthwash to expire—about two to three years after the date of manufacture—but then it should be thrown out. Most mouthwashes contain alcohol, which acts as an antiseptic. There is also quite a bit of water in mouthwash. After two to three years the antiseptic value of the alcohol begins to dissolve, leaving even more water. The reduced ratio of water to antiseptic increases the risk of bacterial growth.
Teeth Whitening Strips
Although there is no harm in using whitening strips past the date of expiration, the ingredients will not be as effective. Storing whitening strips in the refrigerator may help preserve the active ingredients, but you’re still better off buying new.
If you have a specific question about a dental product that you use at home, please call your dentist in Springfield.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. Olson is a family dentist in Springfield. He and his team offer comprehensive dentistry to patients of all ages. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for yourself or your child.