Safety issues relating to the use of hydrogen peroxide in dentistry

Aust Dent J. 2000 Dec;45(4):257-69; quiz 289. doi: 10.1111/j.1834-7819.2000.tb00261.x.


Hydrogen peroxide is used widely in professionally and self-administered products. Hydrogen peroxide is a highly reactive substance which can damage oral soft tissues and hard tissues when present in high concentrations and with exposures of prolonged duration. This report provides an overview of health issues relating to the use of hydrogen peroxide, with an emphasis on safety with prolonged exposure to low concentrations of peroxide products. There is good evidence for the safety of hydrogen peroxide when used at low concentrations on a daily basis over extended periods of time, in self-administered oral health care products such as dentifrices and mouthrinses. These low concentrations neither damage oral hard or soft tissues, nor do they pose a significant risk of adverse long-term effects. Caution should be exercised with the increasingly higher concentration peroxide products used for 'walking' or 'power' bleaching due to the possibility of chemical irritation of oral soft tissues with injudicious use. The volumes of material and application times should be controlled carefully. Thorough education of patients is particularly important with self-applied gels because of the lack of professional supervision with such products. Such education is part of the duty of care of the dentist who supplies bleaching gels for at-home use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / adverse effects*
  • Dentifrices
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / administration & dosage
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / adverse effects*
  • Mouth Mucosa / drug effects
  • Mouthwashes
  • Oxidants / administration & dosage
  • Oxidants / adverse effects*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety
  • Self Administration
  • Time Factors
  • Tooth / drug effects
  • Tooth Bleaching / adverse effects
  • Tooth Bleaching / methods


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Dentifrices
  • Mouthwashes
  • Oxidants
  • Hydrogen Peroxide