When you’re trying to get a job done right, whether it’s painting your house or brushing your teeth, the products you use matter just as much as your technique. And when it comes to maintaining your smile, it’s especially important to use high-quality products. But, even though it’s common to find expiration dates on medications, you don’t usually hear about an expiration date for dental products in Fort Worth. In this blog, you’ll find out when toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash expire, and if it’s safe to use them past their expiration date. You’ll also get general oral hygiene tips to help you maintain your smile and minimize dental problems. Learn more below!
Is It Okay To Use Expired Products?
It depends on the product. For example, it’s may be safe to use expired toothpaste, but the main active ingredient (fluoride) probably won’t be effective after the expiration date.
Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens your teeth, much the same way calcium strengthens your bones. If it’s no longer effective, you won’t get the cavity prevention benefits from brushing that are so important for your dental health.
In addition, expired toothpaste may have a dry, crumbly texture or could contain bacteria or fungi.
When Do Dental Products Expire?
Here’s a guide for the expiration dates of several oral hygiene products:
- Floss – Floss won’t expire, but it could lose its flavoring over time.
- Toothpaste – Toothpaste usually expires in 18-24 months.
- Store-bought mouthwash – A mouthwash from the store won’t expire unless it’s an anti-cavity formula that contains fluoride (in which case it will have an expiration date on the bottle).
- Prescription mouthwash – Since these products contain prescription-strength active ingredients, they’ll have an expiration date listed on the bottle. A dentist prescribes this mouthwash to treat specific oral health problems, so be sure to throw them out after they’ve expired to get the intended benefits.
Tips For Using Oral Care Products
People who have good oral hygiene habits have far fewer dental problems than those who don’t. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your oral hygiene routine:
- Brush at least twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. If you have small children, talk with a dentist in Fort Worth about which products are best for them.
- Floss once each day. Some people find it difficult to floss at bedtime because they’re low on energy, but you can floss right after dinner or even lunch if that’s easier for you. If possible, use a waxed or textured floss because it will remove more plaque and bacteria than super smooth types.
- Remember, using mouthwash is a great addition to brushing and flossing, but it certainly can’t take the place of it. To choose the right mouthwash for your needs, spend a few minutes looking at the bottle to see whether it’s for inflamed gums, cavity prevention (or both), and use 1-2x a day.
Using oral care products with active, effective ingredients is a great way to minimize oral health problems over the long-term. That’s why it’s well worth it to make sure you’re not using expired products!
About the Author
Dr. Kelly Blair is a family dentist in Fort Worth and a graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She’s a firm believer in the importance of using high-quality products to prevent dental problems and always takes the time to help her patients make the best choices for their needs. If you have any questions about the products you use, she can be reached via her website.